19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time on Saturday, with the Czech battling past in-form 13th seed Kiki Bertens in a tight three-set match out on Court Louis Armstrong at the US Open.
Vondrousova made headlines last year as she won her first WTA title in Biel, when she was 234th in the world rankings, though the Czech has largely struggled in the bigger events this season, with only one win at a Grand Slam tournament this year before this.
Unseeded here, the world number 103 was a huge underdog coming into this match, considering the recent form Bertens has displayed. The Dutchwoman has had a stellar year, capped by a run to the title in Cincinnati just a few weeks ago, and certainly had her chances here, having served for the first set and leading by a break in the decider..
However, Vondrousova always seemed to find a way back in when the odds were stacked against her, and prevailed 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(1) in two hours and 20 minutes, securing perhaps the biggest win of her career and setting up a fourth round meeting against Lesia Tsurenko.
Vondrousova edges past Bertens for breakthrough win
After a fairly even start, it was Bertens who broke first, with the 13th seed consolidating for a 4-2 lead early on. The Dutchwoman, however, missed a few openings for a double break, and that proved costly as she was broken as she served for the opening set at 5-4. Vondrousova had been consistently solid throughout the first set, and after breaking back was able to take the 13th seed to a tiebreak, taking a quick 4-0 lead and then holding on to take the first set.
The Czech had not made much of an impact in the previous slams this year, though as she broke and consolidated for a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set it seemed she could cause one of the upsets of the tournament so far. However, after a poor run of play, Bertens was able to get on the board and broke Vondrousova back to level at 2-2. The Dutchwoman was starting to strike the ball correctly, and then proceeded to take the next four games as she took the clash to a decider, with the last break coming to love.
Bertens was originally unable to build on her second set momentum, with Vondrousova saving an early break point, though the Dutchwoman eventually broke for a 4-2 lead. However, the Czech immediately broke back and levelled for 4-4, and just three games later broke again to serve for the match. Vondrousova, perhaps nervous, wobbled slightly and was broken back by the 13th seed, though dominated the ensuing tiebreak to reach the fourth round.