Lucie Safarova, 2015 French Open runner-up finally came back on tour after her recent "delay" due to illness that has been concerning her since the US Open in order to defend her title. Drawing Turkish world number 161 wild card Cagla Buyukakcay in the second round, it seemed an ideal draw to combine the comeback with a Premier Five win. However, the Turk would play the match of her life and with some errors by the Czech, who definitely was not at her best, she advanced to the round of 16 of the event.
Buyukakcay Comes Through a Tight First Set
The first set was so tight with actually no breaks of serve at all it eventually led to the tiebreak which on its own was nail-bitting as well. Both players seemed comfortable behind their serves. The Turkish wild card was playing really consistently, making no errors and moving the ball around well with each swing with great depth. She could especially win points easier when her first serve landed in troubling the rusty return of the Czech.
On the other side, Safarova was serving really well, trying to open up the court and was trying her best to not let her serve become vulnerable. This way, the Czech seemed to be the clear favorite for the tiebreak as it was evident that she was the one possessing the killer shot to seize its point when she really wanted it. The tiebreak though was really close with the French Open finalist making two untimely errors, a double-fault and a forehand on the net and with Buyukakcay holding her nerve and consistency, but finding her good backhands as well, the set went to her.
In the end, both players had the same points won with Safarova having two wasted break points. In general though, Buyukakcay had a better first serve percentage and won more points behind her serve and in a better pattern.
Buyukakcay Seals Best Win Of Her Career
The second part of the match had quite a lot turnarounds and momentum shifts. After a coaching timeout, Safarova entered more energetic giving her all to turn around the situation. Buyukakcay seemed to believe more in herself and played more aggressively going after her shots. This time the Turk broke in the fourth game to lead 3-1. This was a wound to the Czech's psyche who seemed more desperate. With another break, the Turkish wildcard would serve at 5-2 for her biggest career win.
Nerves but mainly Safarova waking up at the right time, earned a mini comeback for the Czech who played some great points to hang on, completely frustrating the, in general, calm Buyukakcay. With the world number 12 coming back at 5-5, everyone was expecting her to dominate from then and turn the match completely around, but after a horrible game she got broken again. It was the third time lucky for the Turk who sealed her best career win and probably one of her best career results in the round of 16 of Doha.
Everything was positive for Buyucakcay who played really well being really consistent from the baseline and nailing some great backhands as well. From the other side, it was definitely not the best of Safarova but it was good that she has stepped on court again and she seemed healthy enough and fresh for new challenges.
Cagla Buyukakcay, world number 161, will now face US Open 2015 finalist and recent top 10 member Roberta Vinci for a place in the quarterfinals. It will be a great experience for the Turk as she will be featured on Centre Court during the night session.