The cull of seeds continued in Linz on Thursday with Denisa Allertova defeating Barbora Strycova, 7-6(0) 5-7 6-4, in the final match of the day. This was a really fun one and the third set in particular was gripping stuff. The first set was messy with many breaks and neither serving well. Strycova was four times up a break but Allertova pegged her back each time. Allertova dished out a tiebreak bagel to win the opener. I’m not exaggerating when I say this but it was one of the best tiebreaks I’ve seen all year from one player. It was PEAK Allertova with winners galore. I want to watch it back as felt like Allertova hit a winner on every point.
Scoreboard pressure helped Strycova win a tight second set. She knuckled down well and didn’t lose the plot as… well, she often does! The third set was thoroughly entertaining and featured some super tennis. Allertova hits a mean ball but Strycova ran down everything. Babs was on the floor a lot. I was impressed with how Allertova kept her composure and was able to put away a lot of winners with Strycova defending so well. Allertova is not afraid to move forward which is encouraging to see. Strycova had a break point at 2-1 but it was Allertova who got the first break in the next game at 2-2 in the decider. There were a few nervy moments but Allertova played some exceptional tennis down break point. In total the pair combined for 12 breaks of serve out of a whopping 40 break point opportunities
The final game was nuts. There was a potential game-changer of a rally on the second point where Allertova didn’t hit into the open space and by open I mean OPEN. Strycova did so well to stay in the rally though. Strycova had a couple of break points but the poise shown by Allertova to save them was, once again, impressive. The 22-year-old was finally able to serve out the win. Allertova first made a name for herself on the WTA tour when she reached the semi-finals of Luxembourg last year as a qualifier. On the whole, her year has been quiet until last month where she reached her first WTA final in Guangzhou, beating Simona Halep and Sara Errani. Allertova has such clean groundstrokes and when she puts it altogether, it’s wonderful to watch. Consistency is still obviously an issue and her serve did let her down at times in this match. Still, i’m excited to see what Allertova can do over the next few years…
Linz is completely wide open… one of Anna-Lena Friedsam, Margarita Gasparyan, Johanna Larsson, Madison Brengle, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Aleksandra Krunic, Kirsten Flipkens or Denisa Allertova will win the title on Sunday. I’d fancy Pavs or Allertova but who knows with this one!