Krejcikova Wins Prague Open, On Cusp Of Top 10

Barbora Krejcikova (photo: @tennispragueopn/Twitter)

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Barbora Krejcikova has dominated women’s tennis for the past two-and-a-half months. She’s won the French Open singles – her first major title – as well as two additional tournaments, on clay at Strasbourg as a lead-in to Roland Garros, and Sunday on a hard court in Prague.

In defeating Tereza Martincova, 6-2, 6-0, in an all-Czech final of the Livesport Prague Open, Krejcikova did not lose a set and lost only eight games from the quarterfinal round through the title match. Against Martincova, Krejcikova hit 26 winners to garner her first hard-court singles title. Now, she’s off to represent her country at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she will compete in both singles and doubles, teaming with longtime doubles partner Katerina Siniakova.

During a courtside interview after winning her third WTA title, Krejcikova was asked what it mean to win a title for the first time in her home country. “It means a lot, it’s really special,” she said. “I’m really happy. Words can’t really describe how I feel right now. I really appreciate all of the support I received this week and the organization for making this tournament [happen]. We are in a tough time, so I’m just very happy there was a crowd here and people came. I hope they enjoyed it. I’m really grateful.”

A winner in three of her past four tournaments (she reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon on grass two weeks ago), the 25-year-old Krejcikova has been brilliant in winning 20 of her past 21 matches – losing only to Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty – and on Monday, she reached a career-best No. 11 in the latest WTA Rankings. She’s just two points shy of displacing World No. 10 Simona Halep.

“After Strasbourg, a lot of things changed,” Krejcikova said later during press after her title victory in Prague. “I felt relieved. That was pretty much the goal for me, something I wanted to get out of this season – to win a 250. And it happened – and after that, I lost all the stress.

“And after Paris everything changed as well. My mental side complete changed. I’ve achieved everything I ever wanted. So now, I just want to go hard, and have fun. For sure, I’m working hard to do well, to play big tournaments and big players. But on the other hard, I don’t really have a big goal.

“I just want to be healthy, and I just want to enjoy and play. If I can do these two things together, I think there is a big opportunity to win another big thing. But I don’t put it in my head like that.”

Gauff latest to withdraw from Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus

American rising star Coco Gauff announced Sunday she won’t be able to compete at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19. She is the latest in what has become a long list of top-ranked players to bow out of the Olympic Tennis Event, which begins this Saturday at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo without spectators. It will continue until Sunday, August 1.

The 17-year-old Gauff was scheduled to compete in singles and doubles for the United States in her first Olympic Games competition. She disclosed her positive test via social media, writing: “I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for Covid and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.”

Over the weekend, in addition to Gauff’s withdrawal, Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini of Italy also announced he would not be competing in Tokyo due to a thigh injury. Last week, Australia’s Alex de Minaur and Dan Evans and Johanna Konta, both from Great Britain, all announced they had tested positive for the coronavirus and would be skipping the Tokyo Olympics.

A total of 46 nations are represented in this year’s Olympics Tennis Event. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Ashleigh Barty of Australia, both ranked World No. 1, will be the top seeds in singles.

Novak Djokovic on the importance of playing the Olympics

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“Quotable …”

“It’s easier to play and fight when there are people – Czech people. Normally, if it wasn’t in the Czech Republic, I wouldn’t play any tournament [this week] because I just felt really tired. But they all wanted to see me, and I felt they gave me so much energy in Paris. They’ve been enjoying it so much. So, I felt I really have to come here and play my best every single day, just so they can see me and see that I’m real. I had to give it back to them somehow.

“That was pretty much my power – the people came to see me, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.”

Barbara Krejcikova, after winning the Livesport Prague Open for her third singles title of 2021.

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