Wimbledon 2017: Magdalena Rybarikova produces brilliant display to stun Karolina Pliskova

Playing some breathtaking grass-court tennis, the Slovak remained hot on grass as she dismissed the tournament favorite.

Wimbledon 2017: Magdalena Rybarikova produces brilliant display to stun Karolina Pliskova
Rybarikova celebrates her shock victory on Center Court/Photo: Shaun Botteriill/Getty Images
Karolina Pliskova
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Magdalena Rybarikova

Magdalena Rybarikova produced the biggest shock of Wimbledon on the ladies' side so far, coming from a set and a break down to shock third seed Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 in the second round.

The Slovak played brilliant, old-school grass court tennis to defeat the tournament favorite, who had won Eastbourne the week before the championships began.

Pliskova takes the opening set

In what promised to be a competitive duel between the powerful Czech and the skilled, graceful Slovak, it was Rybarikova who was under immediate pressure as she faced four break points, but her touch and feel got her out of trouble.

It was going to be a challenge for Rybarikova to solve the Pliskova serve and the Czech was on fire to begin the match, barely losing points. The Slovak is again made to work for her hold, but she manages to mix up her shots and seals the game on the back of a 15-shot rally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With virtually no pressure being applied on her serve, it was only inevitable that Pliskova would find the mark with her returns. Taking more chances, she fired a forehand at the shins of her Slovak rival, Rybarikova powerless to a response.

With the Czech now in front 5-3, she continued to pound away, her groundstrokes sending her to a love hold and an easy close to an entertaining, but dominant set off the ground for the world number three.

Rybarikova strikes back to force a deciding set

It was a response that the world number 87 was looking for and with a hold under her belt, she had a half-chance on the Pliskova serve at 30-30, but could progress no further. The barrage of power continued from the Czech's end and she held a break point in the third game.

Playing a serve-and-volley for the first time in the match, Rybarikova would go on to hold with some brave, bold play. She wasn't as fortunate in her next service game, a sprayed forehand leading to a break for Pliskova, who now seems to be in full control.

Surprisingly, the Czech gives her underdog opponent some life with a break point at 30-40 and Pliskova steers a backhand up the line wide. Both players would settle down on serve until the game that changed the match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serving to stay in the set at 6-5 down, an easy miss on a swinging volley gives Rybarikova a look at 30-30 and even more ghastly overhead miss brings up set point, saved with a big serve. A second chance was created and when the Czech pulled a forehand long, a final set no one saw coming was about to be played.

Rybarikova dominates final set

Both players would up the ante to open the third set. Pliskova using her serve and her power off the ground, Rybarikova continuing to brilliantly mix things up and serving and volleying with more authority.

The first pivotal moment came in the third game as the Czech would hold a pair of break points, but a pair of shocking misses, one off of each wing, kept the Slovak in front 2-1.

In the very next game, Rybarikova took the match by the scruff of the neck, scooping a backhand up the line to set up break point and her outstanding defense forced a wild forehand miss from Pliskova and the Slovak was now halfway to a stunning win.

The reigning U.S. Open finalist would see a break point to restore parity, but Rybarikova did well to hang on, but it was only a temporary respite as her forehand was to go long and the outcome of the match was again in doubt.

The inconsistent play in the Pliskova ground game crept in once again. A netted forehand brought up break point for Rybarikova and when Pliskova missed a backhand, the Slovak was back up a break.

After battling to hold, Rybarikova was a game away from the upset and she set up match point with another stunning volley winner and, as a punctuation, she looped a crosscourt backhand for a winner off an 18-shot rally to close out a magnificent performance.

By the numbers

Rybarikova was efficient, winning five of six break points while hitting 33 winners and also converting 25 of 36 points at net. By comparison, Pliskova won just three of her 11 break chances. In a match so close, fine margins such as that can make the difference. 

 


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