Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Schmiedlova: The woman, the bun, the backhand

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova has been through a lot in her career. In 2015, she impressed on clay courts when she won two out of three tournaments in which she competed against Italians (members of the Four Fighting Italians squad). Her glorious backhand was on display for everyone to see, and she entered the top 30.

The next year, however, Schmiedlova lost 16 consecutive matches and her ranking plunged to 227. 2017 saw her entering and winning challengers, and in 2018, she won the Bogota tournament, which must have been a huge personal victory for her.  But Schmiedy's problems would continue: Last year, she sustained a knee injury and had to have surgery.

Schmiedlova entered the French Open with a protected ranking, and--in case anyone and forgotten what that backhand is all about--we've had ample opportunity to witness it, as well as a chance to see her solid forehand. On a 13-match losing streak in majors, the Slovakian player has turned things around dramatically in Paris this year.

In the opening round, Schmiedlova defeated Venus Williams for the third consecutive time (the 2014 victory was also at the French Open) in her career. Today, the Slovakian player defeated U.S. Open runner-up Vika Azarenka, 6-2, 6-2, and advanced to the third round. This was the first time the two players had ever competed against one another.

"I think she's great player," Schmiedlova said of Azarenka. "She played really well in U.S. Open. I was little bit scared before the match. But I started well, and I'm really happy how I managed to play all match."

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