New wave of Czech teenagers makes impact in Prague

The Czech Republic is renowned for punching above its weight on the Hologic WTA Tour. A population of just 10.7 million has produced seven of the world’s current Top 100 players, including two Grand Slam champions, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova. The Czech team has taken home the Billie Jean King Cup trophy six times since 2011, and their modern-day success comes against the historical backdrop of a slew of legends from Hana Mandlikova to Jana Novotna.

At the Livesport Prague Open this week, a squad of teenagers has shown that the future of the country’s tennis is in good hands — and maybe even better. Get to know them here.

Linda Noskova

Age: 17 (born Nov. 17, 2004)
Current ranking: 112:
Career-high ranking: 112:
2022 win-loss record. 27-9 (1-1 in WTA main draws), as of Prague R2
WTA highlights:: Made Tour-level main-draw debut at 2022 Roland Garros, coming through her first Grand Slam qualifying at her first attempt and taking Emma Raducanu to three sets in the first round; reached the Makarska 125 semifinals the following week; posted her first WTA main-draw win this week in Prague over Natalia Vikhlyantseva.
ITF highlights: Six titles including 2021 Prerov W60, 2022 Croissy-Beauborg W60, 2022 Versmold W100.
Junior highlights: 2021 Roland Garros girls’ singles champion, career-high No.5.
Video: Noskova d. Andreeva, 2021 Roland Garros girls’ final

Lucie Havlickova

Age: 17 (born 13 Mar. 2005)
Current ranking: 787
Career-high ranking: 758:
2022 win-loss record. 12-7 (1-0 in WTA main draws), as of Prague R2
WTA highlights:: Made WTA main-draw debut at 2021 Prague, losing to Anastasia Gasanova in three sets in the first round; as a wildcard, won her first WTA main-draw match this week at 2022 Prague over Barbora Palicova.
ITF highlights: Third round of 2022 Ceska Lipa W60.
Junior highlights: 2022 Roland Garros girls’ singles and doubles (with Sara Bejlek) champion, career-high No.2.
Video: Gasanova d. Havlickova, 2021 Prague R1; Havlickova d. Palicova, 2022 Prague R1

Dominika Salkova

Age: 18 (born 28 June 2004)
Current ranking: 421:
Career-high ranking: 421:
2022 win-loss record. 20-9 (1-1 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Contesting the second WTA qualifying draw of her career (and 16th pro tournament ever), beat Astra Sharma and Natalia Vikhlyantseva this week to make her main-draw debut at 2022 Prague; defeated Ylena In-Albon 6-1, 6-4 to reach the second round, where she fell to Marie Bouzkova.
ITF highlights: 2022 Osijek W25 champion (as a qualifier).
Junior highlights: Career-high No. 24.
Video: Salkova d. In-Albon, 2022 Prague R1

Barbora Palicova

Age: 18 (born 11 March 2004)
Current ranking: 373:
Career-high ranking:
2022 win-loss record. 37-16 (0-1 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Won her WTA qualifying debut at 2020 Prague over Ellen Perez; defeated Viktoria Kuzmova and Yanina Wickmayer in 2022 Prague qualifying to make her WTA main-draw debut, losing in the first round to Lucie Havlickova.
ITF highlights: Champion at 2022 Antalya W15, runner-up at 2022 Glasgow W25.
Junior highlights: Career-high No. 21.
Video: Havlickova d. Palicova, 2022 Prague R1

Nikola Bartunkova

Age: 16 (born 25 Feb. 2006)
Current ranking: 353:
Career-high ranking:
2022 win-loss record. 20-8 (0-1 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Won her first WTA qualifying match at 2021 Istanbul over Leonie Kung, falling to Anastasia Gasanova in three sets in the second round; made her WTA main-draw debut as a wildcard at 2022 Istanbul, falling to eventual champion Anastasia Potapova 6-1, 6-4 in the first round; this week at 2022 Prague, fell in three sets to Oksana Selekhmeteva in the first qualifying round.
ITF highlights: Runner-up at 2021 Milovice W25 and 2022 Istanbul W60.
Junior highlights: 2022 Roland Garros girls’ singles semifinalist and doubles runner-up (with Celine Naef), 2022 Wimbledon girls’ singles quarterfinalist, career-high No.8.

Watch This: 16-year-old Fruhvirtova’s highlight-reel hot shot in Miami

2022 Miami

Remarkably, the players in Prague this week don’t even scratch the surface of Czech teenage talent right now. Several more have been making an impact at WTA, ITF and junior level this year.

Linda Fruhvirtova

Age: 17 (born May 1, 2006)
Current ranking: 155:
Career-high ranking: 153:
2022 win-loss record. 15-13 (4-3 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Made her WTA main-draw debut at 2020 Prague, falling to Kristyna Pliskova in the first round; in her second WTA main draw, made the 2021 Charleston 250 quarterfinals with wins over Alizé Cornet and Emma Navarro); as a wildcard in 2022 Miami, took out Danka Kovinic, Elise Mertens and Victoria Azarenka to reach the fourth round. Owns five Top 100 wins in total.
ITF highlights: Three titles including 2022 Cancun ITF W25.
Junior highlights: 2021 Wimbledon girls’ singles semifinalist, career-high No.2.
Video: L. Fruhvirtova d. Kovinic, 2022 Miami R1; L. Fruhvirtova d. Mertens, 2022 Miami R2; L. Fruhvirtova d. Konjuh, 2022 Charleston R1; Bencic d. L. Fruhvirtova, 2022 Charleston R2

Sara Bejlek

Age: 16 (born 31 Jan. 2006)
Current ranking: 196:
Career-high ranking: 181:
2022 win-loss record. 28-9 (0-0 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Made Tour-level qualifying debut at 2022 Wimbledon, losing 7-6(3), 6-3 to Emina Bektas in the first round.
ITF highlights: Champion at 2021 Olomouc W60, 2022 Santa Margherita di Pula W25, 2022 Ceska Lipa W60 and 2022 Olomouc W60.
Junior highlights: 2022 Roland Garros girls’ doubles champion (with Lucie Havlickova) and girls’ singles semifinalist, career-high No. 43.

Brenda Fruhvirtova

Age: 15 (born April 2, 2007)
Current ranking: 322:
Career-high ranking: 322:
2022 win-loss record. 22-5 (0-1 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Reached the second round of 2021 Seoul 125 on her professional debut; on her tour-level qualifying debut at 2022 Guadalajara, defeated Sara Errani and Leonie Kung to make the main draw, falling to eventual champion Sloane Stephens in the first round.
ITF highlights: Champion at 2022 Tucuman W25 (x2) and 2022 Klosters W25.
Junior highlights: Career-high No.3.

Linda Klimovicova

Age: 18 (born 18 Jun. 2004)
Current ranking: 876:
Career-high ranking: 876:
2022 win-loss record. 13-8 (0-0 in WTA main draws)
WTA highlights:: Made her WTA qualifying debut at 2021 Prague, losing to Anastasia Zakharova in the first round.
ITF highlights: Three-time W15 semifinalist in 2022.
Junior highlights: 2022 Wimbledon girls’ singles semifinalist, career-high No.11.

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