Zahlavova Strycova Shocks Li
Published June 27, 2014 12:14
Despite defeating Paula Kania and Yvonne Meusburger without dropping a set, in both matches Li still seemed to be suffering the after-effects of her shock French Open exit. Zahlavova Strycova, meanwhile, went into their third round encounter with a spring in her step following her run to the final in Birmingham and impressive victories over Alla Kudryavtseva and Elena Vesnina at the All-England Club.
The Turning Point
In a match of fine margins, it was Zahlavova Strycova who held her nerve when it mattered most, scurrying around the baseline to frustrate and eventually overcome Li in two tense tie-breaks. Having pinched the opening set when Li framed a forehand into the net, the Czech, who had never previously beaten a member of the Top 10, was forced to withstand some intense pressure in the second.
The conclusion of the match was particularly dramatic. A stunning drop volley took Zahlavova Strycova to within touching distance of victory and when Li fired long a few points later the match appeared over. Hawk-Eye disagreed, only for Li to double fault away her reprieve.
"I feel great here and I felt great in Birmingham," Zahlavova Strycova said. "I believed in myself coming into this match. I thought I can do it and that's what happened. I'm really glad I could pull through.
"The key was just the belief. The belief in myself, to not give her any easy points. I think I did that right. I was serving very well. I was following the tactics that my coach gave me and I think that was the key."
This unlikely victory has handed Zahlavova Strycova a place in the fourth round of a major for the first time in her career. There she will face No.16 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who continued her recent resurgence with a comfortable win over teenager Ana Konjuh.
"I mean, she's a great player. This will be a challenge for me," Zahlavova Strycova said about her fourth round opponent. "This is my first time in the second week of a Grand Slam so I will enjoy.
"I will do the same like I did the previous matches: I will focus on myself, on my game, and we see how it goes."