Unseeded Czech Republic’s teenage sensation, Marketa Vondrousova has booked her place in the final of the French Open after defeating a lacklustre Johanna Konta 7-5, 7-6(2).
Playing in only her ninth Grand Slam main draw, the 19-year-old Vondrousova, a former girls’ doubles champion of the tournament in 2015 fought back in both sets against her far more experienced opponent.
Trailing each set 3-5 in Roland Garros, Vondrousova was the more consistent of the two as she hit 21 winners to 22 unforced errors, a stark contrast to Konta’s tally of 33 and 41.
“It was a very tough match and I’m happy that I was able to hold my nerve towards the end. I’m just so happy with everything here,” Vondrousova said after the nail-biting encounter.
Konta, who was the first British woman to contest a French Open semi-final since 1983, produced an emphatic start to the clash as Vondrousova struggled to find her range early on in the match.
However, consistency proved to be an issue for both players as the Czech bounced back to draw level at 2-2 before getting broken once again.
Trailing 3-5, 15-40, it looked as if Vondrousova would drop the opening set to the 24th seed but nerves started to cause havoc for Konta as she over hit one of her shots, followed by a costly drop shot mistake.
The error enabled the 19-year-old to claw her way back into the game once again. The rapid change in momentum continued to gain in Vondrousova’s favour as her opponent struggled behind her first serve and produced a series of unforced errors.
Leading 6-5, a backhand error from Konta granted the world No.38 a set point of her own, which she converted with the help of a delicate lob.
It was an almost an identical scenario in the second set as Konta was once again dictating the rallies with some powerful shot-making, breaking Vondrousova early on to have a strong hold.
However, her opponent refused to back down on the court. Trailing 4-5, another troublesome Konta service game concluded with a double fault, allowing Vondrousova to come back once again as she forced proceedings into a tiebreaker.
Continuing to weather the storm, Vondrousova cruised through the tiebreak on route to the biggest final of her career after easing to a 4-2 lead with the help of another Konta error, before hitting an impressive forehand winner from the corner of the court.
Vondrousova will now face Australia’s Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3 in Saturday’s final.