Zahlavova Strycova Into Birmingham Final

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova overcame Casey Dellacqua - and several rain delays - to reach her first WTA final for nearly two years.

Published June 14, 2014 12:13


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BIRMINGHAM, England - Barbora Zahlavova Strycova defeated Casey Dellacqua, 7-6(5), 6-1, at the Aegon Classic on Saturday to reach her first WTA final for nearly two years.

The Plot
Grass court tennis has a habit of ignoring the form book and there has been no shortage of surprises this week at the Edgbaston Priory Club. Zahlavova Strycova arrived in Birmingham on a four-match losing streak, but has proceeded to play her best tennis in years, defeating Lucie Safarova and Kirsten Flipkens en route to a maiden Premier-level semifinal. 

The Turning Point
Despite Zahlavova Strycova twice being a break up, it appeared that a rain-interrupted first set would go Dellacqua's way when she surged 5-1 ahead in the tie-break. However, the Czech had other ideas, capitalizing on a couple of uncharacteristic forehand errors to reel off the next six points.

This setback proved terminal to Dellacqua's chances of reaching a maiden WTA final. At the start of the second set, the Australian's forehand wing once again let her down as she fired long to hand over an immediate break. With the finishing line now in sight, Zahlavova Strycova kept her composure, calmly serving out for a place in her fourth WTA final.

"It's never easy to go on and off, so I had to stay focused all the time," Zahlavova Strycova said. "I broke her and it was 4-2, and then I easily lost my serve. At 4-5, we went off again and then I played a great game to break at 5-5, and then I lost my serve again really easily!

"In the tie-break I was just fighting point by point and I was losing 5-1 actually, and I am very happy that I pulled through that first set. It was really important and I think it was the key to the match."

What's Next
Meeting Zahlavova Strycova for the title will be the in-form Ana Ivanovic. The two have met twice before, most recently in Linz three years ago when Ivanovic ran out a comfortable winner.

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