Marie Bouzkova enjoyed a thrilling conclusion to her 23rd trip around the sun, and will celebrate her 24th birthday on Thursday having finally made a breakthrough result at a Grand Slam tournament.
The former junior US Open champion has been one to watch since she took a set from Serena Williams in the semifinals of their 2019 Rogers Cup clash, but the affable Czech struggled to translate her all-court game to the sport’s biggest stages.
That all changed when she arrived at Wimbledon fresh off playing Serena for the second time—enduring another narrow loss, this time in doubles alongside good friend Sara Sorribes Tormo—and having recovered from a brutal bout with COVID-19.
Dealt a difficult draw, Bouzkova buzzed through the field with wins over No. 7 seed Danielle Collins, American hot shot Ann Li, and grass-court specialist Alison Riske to reach the second week of a major tournament for the first time in her career.