Recently crowned Stuttgart champion, Angelique Kerber went up against Barbora Strycova in the first round at Mutua Madrid Open. Strycova had an uphill task on her hand looking for her first win over Kerber in their fifth clash. The German on the other hand, was trying to make it to the second round since having failed the last two occasions.
The match was close at the start before Strycova found the crucial break to take the first set. From there on it seemed to crumble for the world number three who kept making many errors. The Czech however, remained consistent to clinch her first win over the German, dropping serve just once in a straight sets victory.
A close set decided by the only break right at the end for Strycova
It was a tight set of few chances. Neither player faced much trouble on their serve. Strycova wastefully missed an overhead smash which would have given her the first break point of the set in the sixth game. Otherwise, the Czech was well able to match the world number three stroke for stroke even in the rallies. The match was progressing on serve and it looked it would be decided in a tiebreaker.
Serving at 4-5, scoreboard pressure was on Kerber to hold on to her service game. That pressure got to the German who hit a couple of errors to hand Strycova triple set point. Kerber was only able to salvage two of those as Strycova eventually broke to take the set 6-4 finishing with a delicate touch at the net.
Misery and errors for Kerber continued as Strycova remained consistent
Kerber’s error count continued creeping as she went down an early break to give the Czech a 2-0 lead. Strycova was not troubled as she went on to consolidate to go up 3-0. Kerber then regrouped to get herself on board for 1-3.
It was now Strycova’s turn to make the errors as she gifted the German with double break point. Kerber capitalized at the first offering to find the break back. The match was starting to open up, but as the Czech began to step it up again, Kerber faltered, allowing Strycova to break again to lead 4-2.
The Czech was within one game from getting her first win against the world number three as she held for 5-2. Serving to stay in the match, Kerber sent her shot wide giving Strycova match point. The German however, could only find the net as Strycova completed a 6-4, 6-2 straight sets victory over the second seed.
Both were serving at similar rates getting in more than 60 percent of their first serves. Strycova led in the winner's count hitting 16 of them, three more than Kerber.
The German struggled making 22 unforced errors to the Czech’s 15. That also allowed Strycova to create seven opportunities to break in which she capitalized four times. Kerber was only able to create one chance with that lone break in the second set against an otherwise solid Strycova.