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Iga Swiatek made to fight by qualifier to reach Ostrava semis

iga swiatek

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Two Grand Slam champions fought for nearly two hours each to top American qualifiers and reach the Agel Open semifinals.

No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek got past former junior partner and rival Caty McNally 6-4, 6-4, and Barbora Krejcikova was the first of three Czechs in the quarterfinals to advance when she ended the career-best run of Alycia Parks 7-6 (7), 6-3.

Swiatek, champion of the French and U.S. Opens, will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova or local wild card Tereza Martincova, while Krejcikova lined up Elena Rybakina.

Swiatek and McNally won the 2018 Junior French Open doubles and McNally won both of their junior meetings.

“Tactically it was easier to prepare, because I know her game style (from juniors),” Swiatek said. “She’s playing differently to other players. But on the other hand, a lot of time has passed since we played last time. I knew she’d made progress and I had to be ready.”

Swiatek, the only seed to make the last eight, was under pressure on serve from the outset and was broken first. In the second set, she led 3-0 but was pegged back to 3-3. McNally, the lowest ranked woman ever to reach the Ostrava quarters at 151st, had 11 break chances and Swiatek 10. But Swiatek converted four and McNally only two.

Krejcikova couldn’t consolidate early service breaks in each set against Parks and had to save a set point in the first. Parks, ranked 144th, helped her with nine double faults.

New Wimbledon champion Rybakina beat former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 (5), 6-4 in their first career meeting.

They couldn’t break each other in the first set, which was settled in the tiebreak when Kvitova followed a double fault with a netted backhand.

Rybakina finally broke for 4-3 in the second, and lost only one point in her last two service games, capping the match with her 11th ace.