Barbora Zahlavova Strycova defeated the number two ranked Li Na in a stunning upset during the third round of Wimbledon. Ranked 43rd in the world, the Czech 28-year-old won in two sets 7-6, 7-6 over Na, who “looked out of sorts” during the match, according to The New York Times.
Here’s what you should know about Strycova and her chances at Wimbledon.
1. She Will Play Shuai Peng in the Fourth Round
Strycova will go on to play Shuai Peng, who defeated Lauren Davis to advance. Peng came into Wimbledon ranked 61st in ladies singles, but first in doubles after winning the tournament with Hsieh Su-wei last year.
Strycova spoke with reports the Daily Star about her win against Na, the 2014 Australian Open winner:
I’m very happy. I played a really good match. You go on court and have to believe in yourself.
2. Her Highest World Ranking Was 39th in 2010
Strycova achieved her highest singles career ranking by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) on July 19, 2010 at 39. Her strong performance at Wimbledon and the Prague Open, where she competed in her first finals round, led to her rankings bump.
Watch her compete at the 2010 Prague Open above.
That same year, she broke the record for the longest match in a women’s Grand Slam match beating Regina Kulikova at the Australian Open. The match lasted four hours and 19 minutes, but was broken a year later at the 2011 Australian Open by Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova who competed for four hours and 44 minutes.
3. She Received a Six-Month Suspension in 2012 for Doping
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended Strycova for six months after she tested positive for sibutramine in October 2012. The stimulant was listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2012 prohibited substances in-competition list, according to Sports Illustrated. Sibutramine is used for weight loss, but the drug’s manufactured stop production when a clinical study found an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke, according to the National Institues of Health.
Strycova claimed she accidentally ingested the drug through a weight-loss supplement called ACAI Berry Thin. The ITF reduced her sentence but WADA’s guidelines specifically state the athlete must take responsibility for staying clean. The code reads as follows:
It is each Athlete’s personal duty to ensure that no Prohibited Substance enters his or her body. Athletes are responsible for any Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers found to be present in their Samples. Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing Use on the Athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an antidoping violation under Article 2.1.
4. She Can Have a Temper on the Court
Strycova doesn’t always keep her emotions under control while on the court. At the 2008 Bausch & Lomb Championships, she “threw her racket and slammed it against her shoe and the ground, yelled at herself and even yapped to the chair umpire” in a match against Maria Sharapova, according to The New York Times.
Two years later at Wimbledon she slammed her racket against the court twice in another match against Sharapova.
5. Strycova Had to Choose Between Tennis and Figure Skating
Strycova started playing tennis at the age of 5 when she would accompany her sister to lessons in the Czech Republic city of Pilsen. She also competed as a figure skater, but she told Tennis Head that at age 12 had to choose which sport to pursue:
My sister use to play and I was going there with her. Then I picked up a racket at the tennis club and I started to play against the wall and I really liked it. But at this time I also did figure skating and when I was 12 I had to decide which sport I was going to do because I was pretty good at figure skating.
Her husband Jakub Zahlava once served as her coach, which Strycova told Tennis Head caused some problems:
We got married four and a half years ago and right away when we got married, we went three days later to our first tournament and since then he has coached me. It is difficult, it is very difficult. And we see each other every single day for four and a half years and it’s not easy. It’s really not. And sometimes you have to focus on work and then be husband and wife.