Broady started with a great run in Auckland where she battled through qualifying (not to mention a ‘spirited’ match against Jelena Ostapenko) before falling to the eventual champion Sloane Stephens, but sadly could not carry that momentum into Melbourne, where she fell in the first round of qualifying.
She went back to the ITF level of tournaments, reaching the semi-final of Maui and won the Midland title in the US before losing a tough final round of qualifying to Elena Vesnina in Doha.
Koukalova is long way at the moment from her best rankings, having been as high as No. 20 in the world (April 2013) but in the last three years she has slipped back from her up-coming Czech compatriots.
Broady’s runs at the lower level of the tour should build her confidence. She hit the top 100 on the 22nd February, and although she has opted to play a couple of the lower tier events, there is no doubt that wins build confidence.
Compare and contrast Koukalova, who has put in the hard yards in tour events since the turn of the year, but has just two main draw appearances to her name for her troubles, and is languishing just outside the Top 100.
Both are pretty feisty characters and this proably will not go the way of ‘racquet-gate’ but we can expect a fair bit of drama. Koukalova has a habit of wearing her heart on her sleeve but maybe without the same endearing and comic capabilities as fellow countrywoman Barbora Strycova who at least can sometimes see the funny side of her adversities.
If Broady can keep her head if Koukalova loses hers, this could be a good winnable match and could well help her consolidate her appearance in the Top 100 and maybe see her come into the main draws of International tier events.
Broady and Koukalova are scheduled second on Court 2 on Tuesday, not before 3:30pm (7:30am GMT).
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