Czech teenager Bejlek sets Round of 16 clash with Rybakina in Madrid !

MADRID — Sara Bejlek grew up idolizing Petra Kvitova’s big-hitting baseline power game. But the 18-year-old Czech admits she was hoping she’d grow up to be a bit taller. After she topped off height-wise, Bejlek went looking for another player to emulate. 

She picked a pretty good one.

„[Kvitova and I] are both from the same country and we’re both lefties,“ Bejlek told reporters after her 6-3, 6-1 win over Ashlyn Krueger in the third round of the Mutua Madrid Open. 

„I still didn’t know that I’m going to be so small, that I’m not going to play her game. So Rafa and Petra were my idols.“

Bejlek didn’t know it yet, but that combo would set the perfect tone for her run to a first WTA 1000 Round of 16. Ranked No.136 at the start of the week, Bejlek earned her WTA 1000 main-draw debut after a successful qualifying campaign. She proceeded to knock out Anna Blinkova, Anna Kalinskaya and Krueger, all at the venue Kvitova dominated for three titles in 2011, 2015 and 2018. 

„Surprised, yeah maybe a little bit,“ Bejlek said. „But my team is telling me I can play tennis, that I can be on the best level, and we’ll see where I’m going to be and how long I’m going to be there. But I have to focus on my game, on my physical and psychological stuff, and we will see.“