Barbora Strycova Stops Top Seed Garbiñe Muguruza in Birmingham
(June 21, 2018) Barbora Strycova pulled off one of the biggest upsets of this year’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham on Thursday by beating top seed Garbiñe Muguruza with a 6-2, 6-4 win which left both the reigning Wimbledon champion the Ann Jones centre court crowd reeling.
Strycova reached the singles final here in 2014 and 2016 and won the doubles title in 2016.
“Well, I like this tournament. I like to come here. I like the people, the surroundings. It feels like, not home, but it feels very nice to be here,” said Strycova. “And even I was a long time in Paris (at Roland Garros), so I was, like, not sure if I can come here. I wasn’t feeling well. But then I came and it feels everything nice. I enjoy playing on grass here.”
“Yeah, it is one of my favorite tournaments, yes. My grandfather was living in London, so since I’m two years old, I was coming here very often. I love this country and I love to play here.”
“I thought it was very difficult match,” Muguruza said to media. “She did very well her thing today. Obviously my level wasn’t at its best. But I think credit for her. I think she played well.”
“Barbora plays very good on grass. I think her style of game suits very good the surface. No, I wish I would play more matches, but nothing really worries me. I just want to learn and next time I face her, I want to win.”
Strycova faces Lesia Tsurenko in Friday’s quarterfinals after the Ukrainian qualifier continued her winning ways in Birmingham by knocking out 6th seed Daria Kasatkina.
Defending champion Petra Kvitova is bidding to be the first woman since Maria Sharapova to defend the Nature Valley Classic singles title and, judging by how mercilessly she dismissed Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday, she remains a huge threat to the rest of the field.
“I always feel kind of happiness when I’m playing on the grass actually,” noted Kvitova. “I do feel it here as well. Probably I thought I’m going to feel some pressure to defend the title, but I don’t. It’s kind of nice to have those feels and be more relaxed, which I do not expect. So probably that’s why I’m kind of not really stressing too much about matches and the nerves in the matches. So that’s good.”
Kvitova has a potentially tricky quarterfinal in prospect against Julia Goerges on Friday after Goerges ended Ashleigh Barty’s winning run on grass with a 7-6(6,) 6-3 victory. The young Australian won last week’s Nature Valley Open title in Nottingham but ran out of steam against the able German and will now continue her Wimbledon preparations at next week’s Nature Valley International in Eastbourne.
Second seed Elina Svitolina will be back on action on Friday, taking on Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu for a place in the semi-finals. Svitolina is still finding her way on grass but, having reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year, remains a contender to lift the Maud Watson Trophy on Sunday.
NATURE VALLEY CLASSIC – BIRMINGHAM – BIRMINGHAM, UK
JUNE 18 – 24, 2018
RESULTS – JUNE 21, 2018
Singles – Second Round
- Strycova (CZE) d  G. Muguruza (ESP) 62 64
 P. Kvitova (CZE) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) 62 62
 J. Goerges (GER) d A. Barty (AUS) 76(6) 63
- Tsurenko (UKR) d  D. Kasatkina (RUS) 16 63 63
Doubles – Quarterfinals
 T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d V. King (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 64 75
 B. Krejcikova (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) d [WC] K. Boulter (GBR) / H. Watson (GBR) 62 60
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018
ANN JONES CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
- Rybarikova (SVK) vs [Q] D. Jakupovic (SLO)
- Strycova (CZE) vs L. Tsurenko (UKR)
3. J. Goerges (GER) vs  P. Kvitova (CZE)
4. Buzarnescu (ROU) vs  [WC] E. Svitolina (UKR)
COURT 1 start Not Before 5:00 pm
- Mertens (BEL) / D. Schuurs (NED) vs H. Chan (TPE) / Z. Yang (CHN)