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Strycova sprints into another Birmingham SF

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BIRMINGHAM, Great Britain – Former finalist Barbora Strycova was the first to book her spot in the semifinals of the Nature Valley Classic with a 6-2, 6-4 win over compatriot Kristyna Pliskova.

A two-time runner-up in Birmingham in 2014 and 2016, the 33-year-old Czech has now reached the semifinals or better at the event four times in six appearances since it was upgraded to Premier status. 

The World No.51 was in front for almost the entirety of the 72-minute clash, keeping the big-hitting Pliskova at bay with her patented mix of spins and approaches to the net which have made her so successful on grass in her career. 

However, Pliskova, who scored her first-ever Top 5 victory over twin Karolina in a standout second round match, was not without her chances late in the second set.

The left-handed Pliskova twin created five break points in the second set, after winning just three points in four return games in the opener, only to see the veteran Czech deny her each chance.

Pliskova held a 0-40 lead in the eighth game of the second set, but won five straight points to pull through, and also saved a break point as she served out the match. 

Both players posted quality numbers on the stat sheet, with Strycova hitting 18 winners to just nine unforced, while Pliskova tallied 21 winner to 17 unforced, and six aces. 

Strycova will next faced with winner of the match between No.2 seed Ashleigh Barty and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.

More to come…

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