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From left field: Vondrousova on the verge of stunning Grand Slam breakthrough

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 8 Jun 2019
  • Vondrousova is bidding to become just the sixth left-handed Grand Slam champion in the Open Era
  • Two of the current five are fellow Czech-born players Kvitova and Navratilova
Marketa Vondrousova (PA Images)

Marketa Vondrousova is on the cusp of an extraordinary Grand Slam breakthrough at Roland Garros as she prepares to face eighth seed Ashleigh Barty for the title on Saturday.

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The 19-year-old sensation is attempting to become the first teenager in history to win the French Open title without dropping a set and the first teenager overall since Iva Majoli in 1997 to capture the Roland Garros crown.

Moreover, Vondrousova is looking to join an exclusive club of left-handed Grand Slam champions, with only five southpaws getting their hands on major silverware in the Open Era: Ann Jones, Monica Seles Angelique Kerber and Vondrousova’s fellow Czech stars Petra Kvitova and Martina Navratilova.

Vondrousova, the first teenager to contest the French Open final since Ana Ivanovic in 2007, is also aiming to become just the second unseeded player since 1993 (after Jelena Ostapenko in 2017) to win the Roland Garros title.

Marketa Vondrousova (PA Images)
Leading the tour with match wins on clay this season with 15, Vondrousova didn’t have the star-power of some of her big-name compatriots heading into the French Open (despite a superb 2019), but that’s all set to change following her incredible run to the final.

“It’s, like, 20,000 [people in her hometown of Sokolov in the Czech Republic], really small. I'm getting so much messages also from, like, my hometown, and also my mom. She's talking with so many people out there, and it's very nice. You don't have so much people playing final of Grand Slam there. So it's amazing.
“I think everybody's going to know me now!”

Vondrousova breezed through her first four rounds with dominant wins over Yafan Wang, Anastasia Potapova, Carla Suarez Navarro and Anastasija Sevastova without losing more than four games in a set, but she has been tested in her quarter-finals and semi-finals - despite not losing a set - coming back from 3-5 down in three of the last four sets she’s played, including the second set against Petra Martic and then in both against Johanna Konta in the semis, prevailing 7-5 7-6(2).

The crafty Czech said it’s still sinking in that she’ll be playing for a Grand Slam title on Saturday.

"It's amazing. I never, like, imagined this,” she beamed after beating Konta. “But, yeah, it's the best week of my life so far. I'm just very happy with everything. It's an amazing thing."

We can expect immense variety in the final, with both Vondrousova and Barty renowned for their ability to mix up the pace with intelligent slices and deft drop shots.


Barty has won both of their previous encounters in straight sets - on the grass of Birmingham in 2017 and the hardcourts of Cincinnati in 2018 - but this will be their first meeting on clay.

"I played her twice, I think once on grass and once on hard. We never play on clay, so it's going to be something new,” Vondrousova said. 
“Of course she's top 10 now and she's playing amazing tennis. She's playing so much like -- she's mixing it also like me, so I think it's going to be interesting match. It's final, and I'm just gonna focus and try to relax."

Vondrousova vs Barty is live from Roland Garros at 3.00pm local time on Saturday (2.00pm BST).


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From left field: Vondrousova on the verge of stunning Grand Slam breakthrough

Marketa Vondrousova is on the cusp of an extraordinary Grand Slam breakthrough at Roland Garros as she prepares to face eighth seed Ashleigh Barty for the title on Saturday.

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