In nineteen minutes, the score was 0:6 on the screen. There was a tepid applause for the former world number one from the stands, and Fruhvirtová went to the toilet.
She took a breather during the break, came back bolder, more aggressive. She demonstrated why she made it to the second round from qualification. And why many experts see her as a future star.
Although mugger Muguruza ultimately quashed her attempt at rebellion, Fruhvirt will not be leaving New York disappointed.
A magnificent arena, a famous rival… How did it make an impression on you?
Of course, it is a great experience to play against such a champion in the second largest stadium in the area. The beginning was more difficult. I didn’t expect her to kill me every chance I offered her. As soon as I played the exchange, I was already running. The difference was also in the service – I didn’t do well, she had a very good day.
The score was rising fast. Did you stay calm or was panic trying to get you?
Of course it’s not nice to lose like that. But I didn’t panic. I knew that there would come a moment when the development would start to turn. I just couldn’t catch myself. I didn’t get into the rhythm, into the lauf, into the pressure. Then I took a break and it looked different.
What was going through your head during the break between sets?
I tried to calm down. I thought I would still go and enjoy it. You don’t play in a stadium like this every day. I wanted to enjoy it from the beginning, but unfortunately she had a lot of fun with me. I then wanted to catch the first game on the server, to take the initiative so that she wouldn’t push me so much.
Linda Fruhvirtová during the second round of the US Open.
Which worked, didn’t it?
The start was better, suddenly the game started and everything ran differently. She didn’t hit that many first serves anymore. I regret the second set a lot because I was 4:1 and 40-0. I couldn’t have gotten him started much better. Too bad, well. He missed me by a few balls. We could still go to 5:5, I had more break points. But what can be done?
What did the second half of the match tell you? That the top level is not so far away? Do you still need to fine-tune something?
It sure feels good to see that I was close. If I had a little more luck, she made one more fifth and broke to 5-1, her chances of winning the second set would be almost zero. But… Of course I saw room for improvement. She gave me an ace when she needed to. She chased me at every balloon whenever she could.
How do you rate your overall performance at the US Open?
It was my most successful adult Grand Slam so far and a great start to the concrete season that started here for me. I look forward to following up on it. I don’t know exactly where I’m going yet. We will just sit down and make a program for the next weeks. Tournaments are possible everywhere – on the ITF and WTA Tour, so there is plenty to choose from.