Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova will face Ashleigh Barty in Saturday’s French Open final with a maiden grand slam title on the line for either player.
The 19-year-old Vondrousova became the first teenager to reach a final at Roland Garros since Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in 2007 after she beat Briton Johanna Konta 7-5 7-6 (7-2) on the new Simonne-Mathieu court.
Australian Barty navigated a dramatic three-set match against 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, eventually winning 6-7 6-3 6-3 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Friday’s semifinals marked the first time two teenagers had reached the last four of a major tournament since the 2009 US Open as the women’s bracket continued to provide wonderful entertainment in Paris.
With no play possible Wednesday because of rain, the semifinals were pushed to Friday – the same day as the men’s singles semifinals on the showpiece Philippe-Chatrier court.
But the decision of organizers to relocate the women’s singles semifinals away from Roland Garros’ main court was labeled “unfair and inappropriate” by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Thursday.
Vondrousova started slowly and trailed 3-5 in the first set against Konta, who was aiming to become the first British woman to reach a grand slam final since 1977.
However, the Czech fought back to clinch the set and also came from behind in the second to become the first teenager to reach a grand slam final since Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki at the 2009 US Open.
She is also bidding to become the first teenager to win a major title since Maria Sharapova, who was 19 when she clinched the 2006 US Open.
And she would become the first teenager to win the French Open since 19-year-old Iva Majoli beat 16-year-old Martina Hingis in 1997.
The unseeded Vondrousova is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament and coped well with the early pressure in blustery conditions.
“It was a very tough match today. I was just happy that I kept my nerve at the end. I’m so happy with everything here,” said Vondrousova, who has never been beyond the fourth round of a slam.
A deflated Konta added: “It is always tough to lose a match, any match, and always tough to lose matches where you have opportunities and chances.”
Dream over for Anisimova
The 23-year-old Australian, who stepped away from the game in 2014 to play professional cricket, stormed to a 5-0 lead in the first set but Anisimova rallied to produce a classic match.
Undeterred by her shaky start, the teenager won six games on the bounce as the first set went to a tiebreak which, despite trailing once again, Anisimova won.
With confidence boosted, the American stormed to a 3-0 lead in the second set but, remarkably, lost the next six games as Barty took the set and leveled the match.
The third set was relatively straight forward as Barty broke early and held firm against the resilient Anisimova.
Barty’s previous best result in a grand slam singles event was a losing quarter finalist at this year’s Australian Open.