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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday April 18, 2023

Barbora Krejcikova

Barbora Krejcikova dropped just two games against Liudmila Samsonova, while Jelena Ostapenko dropped three against Emma Raducanu.

Photo Source: Getty

Last season Barbora Krejcikova could barely participate in the European clay-court swing. The Czech showed up at the last minute in Paris with an injured elbow and attempted to defend her 2021 title with little preparation. It ended in a stunning upset at the hands of France’s Diane Parry in the first round.

Tennis Express

In 2023, the talented Czech is starting off her clay campaign on the right foot. She hustled through her Stuttgart debut on Tuesday evening, comfortably crashing past Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova to book a round of 16 clash with Aryna Sabalenka.

The 27-year-old Czech recently said she felt she deserved more credit as an elite player, and she will have a chance to make a statement as she meets Sabalenka for the fourth time in 2023, on a surface that should – theoretically at least – favor her.

***It should be noted that Sabalenka has reached the Stuttgart final in each of the last two seasons and owns a 22-8 record on clay since the start of 2021.***

The pair have met three times already in 2023, with Krejcikova winning the first matchup in Dubai, and Sabalenka coming through against the Czech at Indian Wells and Miami.

Today Krejcikova was focused when she needed to be, saving all seven break points she faced in the opening set, before running away with the contest to finish off Samsonova in one hour and 23 minutes.

Krejcikova won 29 of 53 return points and broke serve five times against the world No.15.

Krejcikova played patient tennis, hitting nine winners against 13 for Samsonova; the Russian committed 27 unforced errors, while Krejcikova committed just 16.

“I think we actually never played on clay, so it’s going to be interesting,” Krejcikova said after her win on the prospects of facing Sabalenka. She is 1-4 against the Belarusian lifetime.

Domination was a theme on Tuesday

There were some breathtaking performances on Tuesday at Stuttgart, as 2017 Roland-Garros Jelena Ostapenko hammered past Emma Raducanu 6-2, 6-1. The Latvian lost just nine points on serve and converted all five break points she faced against the 2021 US Open winner.

Ostapenka will face Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.

Paula Badosa also sauntered through with ease, hammering past Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-1 to set a round of 16 clash with compatriot Cristina Bucsa.

Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur will feature on Wednesday in Stuttgart, along with Krejcikova and Sabalenka.

Here’s the action-packed order of play:


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