The Czech Republic’s women have been having an excellent Wimbledon 2014. An unprecedented three reached the last 16 at the world famous tennis tournament and the country is guaranteed a representative in the final, as former tournament winner Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová are set to face one another in the semis.
The Czech Republic has been having a Wimbledon to remember this year, at least as regards women’s tennis. No fewer than three of the country’s ladies – Petra Kvitová, Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová – made it into the round of 16, the first time that had happened since the professional era began in 1968.
Ahead of the tournament only one of them, sixth seed Kvitová, was in the world’s top 20.
All three found themselves on the same side of the draw. Lucie Šafářová was the first in quarter-final action, with the 27-year-old overcoming Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-1 on Tuesday afternoon.
Šafářová broke down in tears after reaching the first Grand Slam semi-final of her career. But a short while later she was all smiles when she spoke to Czech Radio.
“What I experienced today was indescribable. I’m extremely happy. I’ve never experienced such emotion in my career before. I was a bit nervous in the morning but I really wanted to play well and win – because I may never get to the semi-finals at Wimbledon again. The match went great and I’m still trying to process what’s happened. We’ll see if I manage to get any sleep tonight!”
Šafářová’s victory meant that the Czech Republic was guaranteed to have a representative in Saturday’s final, as in the other quarter-final in her side of the draw Kvitová and Záhlavová-Strýcová were about to meet in an all-Czech clash.
Kvitová, who was Wimbledon champion in 2011, survived a tougher challenge in the second set to beat her compatriot 6-1 7-5. But, the 24-year-old said, she had mixed feelings about knocking out world number 43 Záhlavová-Strýcová, who had herself sent Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki packing.
“Now I definitely feel better, but playing a Czech in the quarter-finals isn’t something I’m used to. I guess I’m pleased at how I turned things around in the second set. Bara really played well, differently from other players, so for me it was difficult mentally and in terms of tactics. I’m glad I managed it and that I’m back in the semi-finals.”
Thursday’s semi-final is certain to draw a great deal of attention here in the Czech Republic. Whoever wins between Kvitová and Šafářová, who is ranked 23rd in the world, will take on either the German Angelique Kerber or Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in the final. But whatever happens it has already been an excellent Wimbledon for the Czechs.