Unseeded Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova reached her first Grand Slam final on Friday, rallying from a break down in both the first and second sets to down 26th seed Johanna Konta in the last four at the French Open.
Vondrousova and Konta had met on the clay just a few weeks ago in Rome, with Konta prevailing on that occasion. It seemed that once again she would prevail, leading in both the first and second sets, holding three set points in the first, but she could not bring her best tennis when it mattered, and the 19-year-old lefty took advantage.
The Czech had been on the backfoot throughout most of both sets but surged through when it mattered, rallying from 3-5 down in both sets to prevail 7-5, 7-6(2) in an hour and 45 minutes to set up a meeting with eighth seed Ashleigh Barty.
Vondrousova rallies in both sets to reach final
The Czech got off to an awful start, with two double faults helping Konta break, though some poor tennis from the Brit saw Vondrousova take a fifth break point, and get back on serve at 2-2. However, Konta broke once again and was seemingly easing to the opening set, though missed three set points at 5-3 up on the Czech’s serve, and was then broken as she tried to serve it out. With several errors coming off Konta’s racket, Vondrousovaa was able to take advantage, breaking once again at 6-5 to snatch the opening set with a superb lob on set point.
After a messy end to the first set, it was key for Konta to start the second set well, and she did so, breaking for 2-1 and consolidating for a 3-1 lead. Vondrousova did not play badly after that one game, looking solid on serve and applying some pressure on the Brit’s serve, particularly when Konta was serving up 4-3, and then much like in the first set, broke back as the 26th seed served for the second set at 5-4. Both women held to force a tiebreak, which Vondrousova proceeded to dominate, leading 4-2 at the change of ends and then winning the final three points to reach the final.
It was not an entirely perfect match from the Czech, but she will surely be satisfied with how she fought back in both sets, and with how she has remarkably made a first Grand Slam final without dropping a set in her six matches on the way to the final. Both her and Barty will be aiming for a first Grand Slam title when they compete for the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen tomorrow.