In a week of surprise results at the ASB Classic in Auckland, Lauren Davis added another with her first top 20 win since 2015, a 6-1, 7-6 win over Barbora Strycova in their quarterfinal match. Strycova looked in fine form before the match with a strong win over Lucie Safarova but couldn't produce her best tennis against the American.
Davis comfortably cliches the first set
Davis opened the match by serving first and held serve fairly straightforwardly with a hold to 15, aided with a few errors from Strycova. Davis broke the world number 20 to love in the second game, with the Czech having early struggles on her serve with two Double Faults served in the game. The Czech number 2 had a break point in the third game after a few wayward shots by Davis but it is saved and Davis held after a deuce. Davis broke again in the fourth game after taking the first of two break points and Strycova started to stretch out her legs, with some indication that she might have been struggling physically. The world number 66 looked in a spot of bother in the fifth game down 0-30 but she rallied to hold serve to 30 and for 5-0. Strycova saved two set points and held serve after the second deuce. Strycova saved another two set points to force deuce but Davis took her 5th set point to clinch the first set 6-1.
Strycova fights back but Davis seals win
Strycova opened the second set with a hold but not after saving two break points from Davis for a hold after one deuce. Davis also saved 2 break points in the next game, but after three deuces and an unsuccessful hawkeye challenge from the Czech, Davis held for 1-1. Strycova and Davis then both exchanged holds to 30 as Strycova led 3-2. After Davis' coach Rodrigo Nascimento came on court during the changeover to offer his advice, the American holds comfortably for 3-3. Strycova saved two break points with a backhand winner and an ace to force deuce, but Davis gets the first break of the second set on her third break point. Strycova forced errors from the American and brought up two break back points, which she took the second of to tie the set back up at 4-4. Strycova had game point at 40-30 in the ninth game but Davis managed to force deuce and then brought up a break point which she duly took and gave her the opportunity to serve for the match. Davis started the tenth game well and was looking comfortable at 30-0, but the nerves got the better of her and some poor shots meant Strycova was able to get a break point, which was taken at the first opportunity for 5-5. Strycova then held fairly comfortably for 6-5 and Davis was forced to save a set point for Strycova and force the second set tiebreak after one deuce. Both players shared the opening points but Davis was able to get the first minibreak courtesy of a double fault by Strycova at 3-2. After an excellent point which Davis won at 4-2, she bought up 3 match points at 6-3. A double fault wasted the first but she was able to clinch a big victory over the 4th seed in straight sets.
Davis faces Ostapenko in semifinal
After her first top 20 win since 2015, Davis will play World number 44 and 7th seed this week, Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals. Davis will be looking to make the third WTA final of her career after reaching the finals of the Citi Open and Tournoi du Quebec last year. Strycova will look ahead to the Australian Open, where she will be seeded 16th and will be the number one seed in the ladies doubles event where she is partnered by individual world number one in Doubles, Sania Mirza.