By Ros Satar, in Birmingham
- Magdalena Rybarikova def. Dalila Jakupovic [Q] 6-2 6-4
- Barbora Strycova def. Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 3-0 RET
BIRMINGHAM, UK – Last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova faces two-time Birmingham finalist Barbora Strycova in the Nature Valley Classic semi-finals.
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Magdalena Rybarikova def. Dalila Jakupovic [Q] 6-2 6-4
Last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova had all manner of lucky numbers on her side as she made her third semi-final in Birmingham – the tournament where she won her first WTA title.
Experience won out as qualifier Dalila Jakupovic struggled to keep pace with the generally more sure-striking Slovakian, although she lifted her level towards the end of the match, giving Rybarikova some moments of pause.
She said: “If I give her a lot of rhythm, then that’s the game that she likes, so that’s why I was changing the rhythm. I was playing lot of slice. Be more patience, yes, in some moments, but when I had a ball to kill, I’d kill it. So, I think I just played pretty good match today.”
Barbora Strycova def. Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 3-0 RET
We will be in for a treat as two-time finalist here Barbora Strycova battled and energetically flailed her way through a tight first set, before Lesia Tsurenko picked up a left hip injury and had to retire.
On making the quarter-finals, Strycova said: “I have much more options. Of course, the balls are very low, so I can chip it or slice it easily than on clay or on hard court. But I have more options to go and play serve-and-volley. I have more options to play slice.
“I don’t think that the girls like it when I mix the game a lot. This is my game. I have to mix it. I have not so much power like them. I have to play clever and tricky. If I play like this, I have chances to win matches.”
Strycova v Rybarikova | H2H: Strycova leads 4-1
We have a mouth-watering match in prospect with two solid grass court players, that bring specific grass skills that you don’t often see in the women’s game.
Rybarikova assessed what she would have to do in the semi-final: “I think everything is tricky about Barbora because she is really very talented, extremely talented player. She knows what I know. It’s little bit different. It’s going to be someone similar to me. It’s not going to be easy.
“I lost to her I think twice last year. So, yeah, it’s going to be definitely tough match because she serves well. She returns well. She feels great on the grass. Very tricky player.
“Definitely going to be a very tough match. She played twice the final here. She feels very good here. I hope it’s going to be entertaining for the people and for us maybe. Hopefully it’s going to be a good match.”
Good friends off the court as well as evenly-matched competitors on it, Strycova concurred that they have similar styles which should make for an intriguing match-up on Saturday.
“There will be a lot of chip-and-charge, a lot of serve-and-volley, a lot of different game than you see in women tennis right now. So, I really look forward to play to tomorrow, yeah. I have to try a lot of volleys tomorrow in the warmup.
“Magda is such a clever player, especially on grass she. She will destroy your game right away in two games because she can play serve-and-volley, slice, and chip-and-charge. I have to follow my tactic and also, I have to be not so much emotional because it also takes a lot of energy. It’s going to be tough match tomorrow. I have to use the energy for the tactic, for my legs, my head, for everything.”
Play continues at the Nature Valley Classic at 11:30am.
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