Welcome back to Clay Chronicles, where wtatennis.com will take a look back at some of the most memorable matches from the clay seasons of recent history. In this installment, we head to the Czech capital of Prague, which has hosted the J&T Banka Prague Open since 2015 after having long hosted an event on the ITF Pro Circuit.
Ana Konjuh def. Belinda Bencic (7-5, 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 2015 first round)
One of the first matches in Prague's tour-level history proved one of the most riveting.
In the opening round of the 2015 tournament, a pair of promising teenagers squared off in 18-year-old No.7 seed Belinda Bencic and 17-year-old qualifier Ana Konjuh.
In what became a nearly three-hour encounter, Konjuh had six match points in the second set, leading 6-0 in the tiebreak, but ultimately scored victory late in the third set on her 10th chance to win the match.
The Swiss won a staggering eight points in a row to force an improbable deciding set, and even held three match points of her own late in the third.
Bencic won three straight games facing a 5-3 deficit in the final set, and after saving three more match points to deny Konjuh a chance to serve out the match in the 10th game, the Swiss held three match points in the Croat's final service game.
Nonetheless, the future US Open quarterfinalist, who became the youngest WTA title-winner since 2006 later in 2015 when she won her maiden singles trophy in Nottingham, turned aside all three chances to hold for 6-6, and ultimately won the last five points of the ensuing tiebreak to book her spot in the second round.
Samatha Stosur def. Barbora Strycova (6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 2016 quarterfinals)
To score her first career win against Barbora Strycova, Samantha Stosur had to dig deep in a classic three-hour quarterfinal in 2016.
The Aussie No.4 seed, the eventual finalist in 2016 where she lost to Lucie Safarova, led the Czech favorite by a set and a break -- only to be pushed to the brink in a marathon match against the No.5 seed.
Trailing 6-4, 4-3, with Stosur to served, Strycova battled back to force a final set, and was the first to break for a 2-1 lead.
Broken back straight away, Strycova nonetheless stayed even on serve for the duration of the final set, and saved three match points across her last two service games.
Not ready to see her tournament debut end, however, Stosur battled back from a mini-break deficit to start the decisive tiebreak, and wrapped up the win on her fourth match point.
Jelena Ostapenko def. Caroline Wozniacki (5-7, 6-3, 7-6(5), 2017 second round)
In a sign of things to come in the 2017 season, Jelena Ostapenko scored the first of a pair of thrilling clay-court wins over Caroline Wozniacki in Prague.
Behind a staggering 70 winners, the Latvian saved a match point late in the final set to earn her third victory against Wozniacki in as many meetings in what was nearly three hours of tense drama.
Having first held three match points on serve at 5-3 in the decider, Ostapenko lost the next three games and needed to save a match point when the No.2 seed served for the match at 6-5.
Ostapenko saves match point to edge Wozniacki 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(5)!— wta (@WTA) May 3, 2017
Books a place in #PragueOpen Quarterfinals! pic.twitter.com/bjpbiGEbdQ
Just about three weeks later, Ostapenko defeated Wozniacki in a thriller once more on one of the sport's biggest stages: the French Open.
Rallying from a set down and surviving two rain delays, Ostapenko recorded a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 quarterfinal victory on the way to her first Grand Slam title.
Petra Kvitova def. Mihaela Buzarnescu (4–6, 6–2, 6–3, 2018 final)
It was an emotional homecoming for Petra Kvitova in Prague in 2018.
A year prior, while still recovering from a home invasion that injured her playing hand, Kvitova nonetheless made an appearance as a spectator for the 2017 final between compatriot Kristyna Pliskova and Germany's Mona Barthel.
In 2018, she made her debut on the court at the International-level event on home soil and lost just one set, the first against Buzarnescu in the championship, to win her first clay court title in three years and her first International tournament since 2011.
The emotional week for Kvitova saw her beat compatriots Tereza Smitkova and Katerina Siniakova, as well as Natalia Vikhlyantseva and Zhang Shuai en route to the final, and the two-time Wimbledon champion thrilled a packed house with the come-from-behind victory.
Jil Teichmann def. Karolina Muchova (7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4, 2019 final)
One year ago, qualifier Jil Teichmann had a big breakthrough in the Czech capital.
Having never before featured in the final eight at a WTA tournament, the Swiss left-hander stormed through eight matches to win her maiden WTA title -- one of two trophies she lifted last year.
Read the match report: Teichmann triumphs in Prague for first WTA title
Squaring off against another surprise package in wildcard Karolina Muchova, who was months away from a stunning run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and her ascent into the Top 30, the Swiss lost just two sets over the course of eight matches.
😂— wta (@WTA) May 3, 2019
Good luck tomorrow @jilteichmann & @karomuchova7! #PragueOpen pic.twitter.com/HInypEAsuf
Teichmann became the first champion in Prague to hoist the trophy after winning the first set, as each of the event's first four winers rallied from a set down in the championship match.
Twice a break down in the final set, the left-hander broke into the Top 100 by virtue of winning the title, and scored another milestone - a first Top 10 win, over Kiki Bertens - en route to claiming her second tour title in July.
Teichmann's maiden triumph wasn't the only emotional moment of championship Saturday: the event held a special retirement ceremony for former Top 10 player and five-time Grand Slam doubles champion Lucie Safarova in advance of the match.