Broady won the decider in a tiebreak, 8-6, to secure victory in a match that appeared to have swung against her at just the wrong moment. Broady dominated the first set, serving 4 aces and dropping only 5 points on serve, and didn’t face a single break point. On the return, she gobbled up the only break point opportunity she was given at 4-3 up in the opening set decisively and deservedly served it out.
The second set went against her from the very start, though, dropping serve instantly while the Slovak maintained her already high level of service, winning all but one of her first service points throughout the second set. Broady let it escape her a little and in no time, the ladies were in a deciding set.
It felt like a similar story at the start of the third, Broady dropping serve instantly. She rallied to break back for 1-1, but was broken again, to love, and Rybarikova consolidated to take a 3-1 lead. With the Brit’s serve stuttering, it seemed the match was almost beyond her reach. A lengthy fifth game resulted in a huge service hold for Naomi, and this appeared to be the catalyst: the Slovak was broken in game six and the girls were level once more. The pair excruciatingly held serve until the inevitable: a deciding set tie break.
Broady’s final set tiebreak record before today was played 26, won 9, lost 17, and it looked like it might worsen after the top seed took an early 2-0 lead. However, Broady rallied again, and brought it back to 3-3 at the change of ends. The next three points went on serve, and Broady led for the first time since the end of Set 2, 5-4. The Slovak held one service point but Broady secured the mini-break, serving for the match at 6-5. This opportunity was spurned, but she immediately gave herself another at 7-6, this time on the Slovak’s serve. She made no mistake, and the match was hers.
An astonishing victory and 18 rankings points secured for the week so far, but some things to work on: her first serve percentage dropped to an alarming 42% in the final set, and Broady actually won seven fewer points than her opponent, despite winning the match. With a mouth-watering clash against Ana Ivanovic in the first round proper to look forward to, though, we’ll let Naomi enjoy her victory for a while first.