A superb Barbora Strycova came from a break down in the first set to roll past 19th seed Johanna Konta and reach her first ever Grand Slam singles semifinal at Wimbledon on quarterfinal day at the All England Club.
Strycova, one of four unseeded women in the last eight, was a clear underdog for the match and did not have the crowd with her, with Konta in action at her home Grand Slam tournament, and it seemed that it would not be the Czech’s day as she quickly fell a break down in the opening set.
However, five years after she previously reached the same stage at this tournament, the Czech rallied, dictating play with her variety, coming back from a break down to take the opening set and then cruising through the second set to seal a 7-6(5), 6-1 victory in an hour and 37 minutes.
Super Strycova stuns Konta on Centre Court
Konta was under pressure early on, though saved a break point in her opening service game, and went on to break Strycova on her way to a 3-0 lead. Strycova, however, grew into the match after that, and a 4-1 lead for Konta quickly became 4-4 as the Czech began to force errors out of her opponent. With no more breaks in the set, a tiebreak ensued, and after Strycova twice dropped a minibreak lead it seemed that Konta would snatch it. However, two costly forehand errors from the Brit at 5-5 in the breaker handed Strycova a hard-fought opening set.
Despite being an early break down, Strycova had controlled large parts of the first set, and started the second set sharply, forcing more errors from Konta as she broke early on her way to a 3-0 lead out on Centre Court. The Czech was never really troubled on her own serve, and applied further pressure on Konta, with more unforced errors from the Brit seeing Strycova break for the second time to lead 5-1. There were some signs of nerves serving out the victory as she fell 0-30 down, but the Czech rallied to hold and reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at the age of 33.
Strycova was nearly out of the tournament yesterday in the fourth round, though came from a set and 5-2 down against 21st seed Elise Mertens to progress to the last eight, and continued her fine form today against an in-form Konta, hitting just nine unforced errors to 22 winners in a highly impressive performance. The Czech is now set to face 11th seed Serena Williams for a place in the final on Thursday.