Alison wins the mental battle and downs defending champion at Linz

Even defending champion Barbora Strycova couldn’t stop Ali’s run at Linz. Alison was mentally the strongest and booked a place in the semi-finals, beating Strycova 3-6 6-4 6-4.

Alison trailed 0-40 in the opening game and her forehand went long on the second break point. Things were restored as Alison broke back, hitting a lovely drop shot. Ali often managed to keep the ball low, which made it difficult for Strycova to hit good slices. This way, Alison also forced some oppurtunities to get a break ahead.

Unfortunately a backhand passing and a forehand return missed their target. Ali’s strong services saved a number of break points in the next game yet a crossed forehand passing helped Strycova to get another break. In the next two games, the third seed decided the first set.

Nevertheless Alison managed to get under Strycova’s skin. The Czech started to complain more and more while Alison was playing freely and at an high level. A number of magnificent smashes came off Ali’s racket. She led in the second set by 3 games to 1. At 4-3 and 30-0, Alison was gifted a point after Strycova protested against the umpire. The second set was concluded as the defending champion made an error with the forehand.

Alison kept putting pressure on Strycova with great tennis. Alison also enjoyed an early lead in the third set. On the first three match points on Strycova’s serve, returns from Alison ended up in the net. And yet, Alison played very convincingly in the next game to seal the deal.