French Open 2019: Vondrousova upsets Konta in straight sets to reach her first Grand Slam final
Marketa Vondrousova was on a mission at the French Open Friday. The 19-year-old who was in her third year of competition on clay courts, pulled off another major victory, taking down 26th seed Johanna Konta 7-5, 7-6(2), her sixth straight-sets victory on Court Simone Mathieu at the Rolland Garros. It is the first time the Czech had ever made it to a major final.
Konta had beaten the 19-year-old in Rome. Showing great strength on the surface, Konta would have hoped for a final appearance. Vondrousova has never come this close to this level of competition before this, but is yet to drop a set in the French Open.
The teen was broken early due to back-to-back double faults, while the British No 1 consolidated to stay ahead in the set. But before she could get comfortable attacking, the 28-year-old was pushed back in the third game. The fourth was the most contested as the young Czech looked to keep Konta in reach. The Brit forced deuce, saving the first of five break points, but couldn’t lock down an advantage point.
She made up for the failure though, breaking Vondrousova quickly in the fifth. The set began to quicken, with Konta standing with a 5-3 lead. In an effort to avoid giving away the set on serve, Vondrousova saved two set points to force deuce. The 19-year-old avoided a third before getting her own chance to lock down the game.
The Brit served for it a second time but drew errors twice to hand the Czech break point. She leveled it at five-all with her 16th winner to send the set deep with the ball in hand. She pressured Konta to err for consecutive points before easily putting the 11th game to rest. She kept up the assault on Konta’s game to get a chance at the set, and got the reward.
Vondrousova just managed to outscore Konta, but had the better serve output that got her in position to gain more control.
She held serve to start the second but lost the next two with Konta converting a break in the third. The short break was all that occurred through seven games as each held firm through the next four, giving up no more than one or two points on serve. With the break in hand, Konta continued to lead but had Vondrousova at her heels looking for a shot at leveling back. Konta avoided that from happening to push the Czech to the baseline, where she erred on Deuce to hand the Brit her shot at forcing the decider.
The Czech denied her that key break in the ninth and pushed her to either do it on her own or send the two to a set tiebreak. Vondrousova responded well on the return side that included a great stance near the net where she gave it right back to the Brit that ultimately sent them into extra frames. The 19-year-old secured her hold in the 11th to serve for the match just as the rain began to fall harder. Konta refused to go down and started the 12th with a well-placed lob at the net.
Pressing the issue, Konta drew errors from the Czech before scoring line drive winners that gave her a chance to force a third set with the tiebreak left to contest. Vondrousova got the first two points before Konta got on the board. When the Brit gained her second, the 19-year-old already had the lead at 3-2.
The two points would be the last the 28-year-old would win at Roland Garros in 2019 as Vondrousova went on to take the next three straight for match point, which she didn’t let get away, ending another brilliant run that took her 1 hour and 45 minutes.
“It was a very tough match today,” Vondrousova said during her on-court interview. “I’m happy that I kept my nerves at the end and I’m just so happy with everything here.” She will take on Australian powerhouse Ashleigh Barty who stopped the final from becoming an all teen matchup with a three-set win over American Amanda Anisimova.