Linda Fruhvirtova: The 16-Year-Old Sensation Following In Sharapova's Footsteps

The teenager could have a breakthrough year after a decent Miami Open
14:00, 29 Mar 2022

What were you doing at 16? Probably not making an impact on the sport of tennis in the same way that Linda Fruhvirtova is. At the Miami Open, 16-year-old Fruhvirtova made an outstanding impression and she is now being tipped for a bright future.

The youngster from the Czech Republic had a great run in Florida, which sadly came to an end in the Round of 16 as she lost in straight sets to Spaniard Paula Badosa 6-2, 6-3. Her opening match on court last week, where she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-0, 6-4 to record her first ever WTA 1000 victory. She followed this up with an impressive triumph in three sets over Elise Mertens 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 before getting a walkover to the last 16 after former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka retired during the second set.

She may be disappointed that her excellent run has come to an end but she will also see this as excellent progress from when she was competing here a year ago where she lost in the first round of qualifying and it bodes well for her ambitions within tennis. Following her victory over Martens in the second round, Fruhvirtova answered a question about her aspirations, saying: “I have always answered [that question by saying] I want to reach No.1. I want to win Grand Slam titles, which hasn’t changed.” 

She became the first teenager to reach the last 16 stage of the Miami Open since Maria Sharapova in 2004 and there are not many better tennis legends to follow in the footsteps of in the hunt for Grand Slam success. Another interesting comparison between the pair is that they both were eliminated from the Miami Open at the round of 16 stage, with Sharapova losing to fellow great and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. Fruhvirtova will be disappointed that her Cinderella run has come to an end and couldn’t go further than the Russian icon, but she will be boosted by what Sharapova did just a couple of months after her Miami Open exit 18 years ago. Sharapova went on to be crowned the Wimbledon champion where she got her revenge on Williams, defeating her in straight sets in the final on Centre Court. 

This will only give young Fruhvirtova confidence as she looks to take her impressive form in Miami into future WTA events and after having defeated two top players, she looks set to have an impressive career. Currently ranked as the World No. 279, the teenager had been more accustomed to ITF success, having claimed three titles but in Miami she has already shown she can compete on this circuit and she may just follow in the footsteps of Sharapova, who herself was a five-time Grand Slam champion. After getting past Mertens and Azarenka, both ranked in the top 30, she will have definitely gained the attention from a lot of supporters who will be interested to see how she fares for the remainder of the 2022 season and beyond.

With Wimbledon not too far away, Fruhvirtova will be closely watched when the British Grand Slam rolls around and it will be interesting to see just how accurately history can indeed repeat itself.

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