Johanna Konta opened a door that she couldn’t close at the Championships Wimbledon on Tuesday to move into the semifinals of the competition. Barbora Strycova pulled off a comeback to force a tiebreak, win it, and take the second set to win 7-6(5), 6-1 on Center Court at the All England Tennis Club.
Prior to this meeting, the two met back in 2017 with the game going deep in straight sets until the Czech Strycova registered an important win. The 33-year-old veteran reached the quarterfinals five years ago but never made it as far as her British counterpart.
Konta’s semifinal best in 2017 had her back in the hunt for that and more as she recently showed her strength in the previous major. With the goal of bettering her performance from the previous Wimbledon, the 28-year-old vied to best Strycova with her help of immense crowd support.
Rallying on to gain the first real advantage, she held serve despite going to deuce but also held the first and only advantage point. A break gave her a short lead but consolidating it with another hold in the third opened the gap over Strycova.
The Czech got on the board with a serve to love but the Brit was aware of the uphill battle that stood in front of her. With three games again in her way and with Konta’s serving hold in the fifth, Strycova strung together three game victories that gave her a break and a four-all tie.
Strycova saw the bar set with Konta maintaining her serve in the ninth but responded with another serve to love in the tenth. She was pressured after the 11th but answered to set up the tiebreak. She caught the minibreak before being broken back on the third point.
Konta got back to level at three apiece before the cat and mouse game ensued. When the Czech gained a 6-5 stance for set point, she clinched it with a broken serve of Konta to take the set in one hour and four minutes.
The second became a worrying moment for the British number one as Strycova opened a 3-0 start to the set. Just when it looked as if the Czech would convert it with a complete domination, Konta was able to lock down a service game in the fourth before going back to a three game deficit with Strycova two games awa from a spot in the semifinal.
A huge down point came for Konta who had a 40-0 situation to come within a pair of games. Her first double fault followed a second that forced deuce and suddenly gave Strycova her shot to serve for the match.
She earned it with pressuring shots at Konta who couldn’t return. On match point, the 33 year old got it with a final shot that landed long of the baseline securing her first ever major semifinal taking 1 hour and 36 minutes to do it.
With some powerful moments where Strycova dominated the competition, she would need the same to happen in two days when facing former world number one Serena Williams in order to enter her first ever slam final.