By Jake Davies

  • Magdalena Rybarikova [1] defeats Sorana Cirstea [5] 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
  • Viktorija Golubic defeats Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-1
LINZ, AUSTRIA – Top seed Magdalena Rybarikova targets title as she locks in on her semi-final spot

Magdalena Rybarikova [1] defeats Sorana Cirstea [5] 5-7, 6-2, 6-1

The top seeded Magdalena Rybarikova outlasted Romania’s Sorana Cirstea to set up a mouth-watering clash with last year’s Linz finalist Viktorija Golubic in today’s semi-final match.

Most of the conversation going into the match was about whether Cirstea could fully recover, after a late finish in her previous match the day before.

Rybarikova made the strongest of starts by doing what she does best. Carving the ball from the backhand side and using her court craft in order to gain a foothold in the match. The No.1 seed broke immediately in the first game of the match, but was put straight back under pressure in the fourth game, where the hard-hitting Cirstea broke back on her second chance of asking.

The momentum kept changing as neither player really took a convincing grip on proceedings. Rybarikova’s second break lead was soon snuffed out as Cirstea refused to go away. Rybarikova served for the set at *5-4 and was in control with two set points, but Cirstea found a way to break. After 54 minutes of play, Rybarikova managed to convert on her third set point, but it was not over yet.

Cirstea replied emphatically with a 6-2 second set, but the exploits of the previous match seemingly caught up with the Romanian. The effectiveness of Rybarikova’s backhand slice worked to perfection as she focussed on the left-hand side of the court, where Cirstea was struggling to generate her own pace from that particular side.

Cirstea took a medical time out for a back problem at 1-4* down in the 3rd set, but her fight was over as she went out with a wimper by dropping the next two games to the Slovakian.

 

Viktorija Golubic defeats Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-1

Viktorija Golubic kept her dreams alive of going one better than last year as she beat Sweden’s Johanna Larsson to progress to a second WTA semi-final in Linz.

The Swiss player has had a torrid year. She was as high as No.54 at the end of last season, but after failing to win back-to-back WTA main draw matches all season, Golubic’s ranking has taken a bit of a tumble. She is now at No.117 in the world, so this successful week in Linz is a welcome one for her.

After a convincing display against Larsson, where she sealed the win with a break of serve on all four of the Swede’s service games in the second set, Golubic talked through the great feeling she gets when returning to a tournament she has done so well in in the past:

“I knew from last year that I really liked playing here. I enjoy the location, the organisation and the feeling when I play indoors, so it suits my game. But last year I was in really good shape, so I did not really focus on what I did last year. I was playing match by match and I feel pretty well again. I knew this year I was having tough matches. I was playing good tennis, but I could not get the wins, but I am happy I am here again.”

Golubic credits her mentality this week as the reason she has done so well for a second time here. It can be easy for an individual to get carried away with their previous results at a tournament, but the former World No.53 noted believing in the process and not on the final finishing line:

“I knew I could play good tennis here. I knew I really needed to focus step by step, because if I look too far then you don’t play your level. After my first round win I got a lot of confidence in my game, especially because I had lost the first set and it was very tight.”

 

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