Czech Women’s Tennis Is Thriving Despite Pandemic

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Over the past month, women’s tennis has thrived in the Czech Republic thanks to the Tipsport Elite Trophy series of team exhibitions that have taken place both indoors and outdoors as well as on clay and hard courts.

The latest, Tipsport Elite Trophy 3, has brought competition to Štvanice, an island on the Vltava River between the Prague districts of Holesovice and Karli. Not only have Czech players such as World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova and No. 12 Petra Kvitova captained teams while competing, but it’s also given a chance for Barbora Strycova, Krystina Pliskova, Marketa Vondrouseva and Karolina Muscova to get much needed match competition during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown of the WTA Tour. Add to the mix, this week‘s fixtures have included World No. 8 Belinda Bencic and Stephanie Voegele from Switzerland, Victoria Kuzmova of Slovakia and Iga Swiatek of Poland mixed in with the Czech players.

Among them, Swiatek has been a nice surprise. After losing to the World No. 26 Muchova in a third-set match tie-break (10-8) on Saturday, she rebounded nicely to score wins over Tereza Martincova and Vondrousova. In Monday’s 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against last year’s French Open semifinalist, Vondrousova, the 49th-ranked Swiatek hit 15 winners and converted five of seven break-point opportunities.

Led by Swiatek’s two victories, the Pink team captained by Strycova – and including Bencic, who won twice in singles over the weekend – defeated the Black team captained by Pliskova 9-3 in the three-day event.

Krajinovic wins battle in Belgrade

World No. 32 Filip Krajinovic of Serbia needed nearly three hours but he held off upset-minded No. 772 Aziz Kijametovic of Bosnia in three sets, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-4, at the Eastern European Championships in Belgrade on Monday. Other winners at Tipsarevic Tennis Academy included: No. 30 Borna Coric of Croatia, No. 80 Laslo Djere of Serbia, and No. 107 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia.

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In this week’s “Rally” column, Tennis.com’s Joel Drucker and Steve Tignor discuss whether Olympics tennis should become a team event.

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What they’re saying

Anastasija Sevastova on winning the bett1ACES in Berlin Sunday: “It was always tough. Against Petra, she’s such a great player – you don’t get any rhythm and she plays so fast. I just tried to stay there and wait for my chances. At first, she clearly dominated with her strong service. But I always stayed on and managed to break in the second set. Fortunately, I had the better end for myself in the match tie-break. The conditions in the hangar were ideal for my game. The wins here against three strong opponents give me a lot of confidence.”

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Stefanos Tsitsipas / Fans come in a shapes and sizes.

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Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev / Did you miss us?