17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova turned the tables on top seed Barbora Strycova to reach her first WTA final alongside fellow debutante Anett Kontaveit, who survived a thriller.
WTA Staff

BIEL/BIENNE, Switzerland - Marketa Vondrousova's fairytale week continued at the Ladies Open Biel Bienne; the qualifier roared back from a first-set deficit to surprise countrywoman and top seed Barbora Strycova, 7-6(3), 6-2, and book her first WTA final appearance alongside Estonian youngster Anett Kontaveit.

Kontaveit triumphed in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 thriller against Aliaksandra Sasnovich earlier in the day.

"It's really amazing," she said in her post-match interview. "I didn't expect this, but I played really great tennis, stayed focused on every point, and I made it!"

A week after teenagers Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko fought for the Volvo Car Open title, the WTA field continued to serve youth in Biel/Bienne, with 23 as the average age of the semifinalists - and that's including 31-year-old Strycova.

"I didn't know I could play this good! We dont't know each other so much, so I just played my game. I'm a bit tired now, but I was able to stay focused today."

Vondrousova, who reached two Slam semifinals and won two major doubles titles as a junior, was playing her first tour-level semifinal, and that experience showed early as the World No.18 raced out to a 5-2 lead, later holding a set point in the 12th game of the opener.

"I tried to attack, and didn't want to play too many long rallies because I was tired. That went well."

The teenager gamely saved it behind a booming lefty serve and saved her best tennis for the ensuing tie-break, striking a screaming winner to clinch it.

Strycova struggled to counter her fellow Czech's aggressive game on the indoor hardcourts as Vondrousova took a 5-2 lead of her own in the second, breaking serve for the fourth and final time to advance into the biggest final of her career.

In all, the qualifier played a clean match, striking 22 winners to 13 unforced errors; Strycova's own 13 winners were undone by 20 unforced errors. After sitting out the second half of 2016 due to injury, Vondrousova has already reached four finals this year on the ITF circuit, but won't be thinking too much about that stat on Sunday.

"I just want to play a good game, and don't want to think about tomorrow's match being a final. I'll talk about it with my coach.

"We were watching [Kontaveit's] semifinal, so I'm sure my coach will give me a lot to think about!"

Awaiting Vondrousova in the final is another former junior prodigy in Kontaveit, who reached the US Open girl's singles final back in 2012 and outlasted Sasnovich to start Semifinal Saturday.

"I feel really good, and really happy to be in my first final," she said after the match.

Back in the Top 100 after reaching the third round of the Miami Open, the unseeded Estonian battled through a high-quality encounter with Sasnovich, who was playing her first WTA semifinal since 2015.

"I was down a break twice in the third set, but I tried to stay in there even though she was playing really well. I was just trying to stay with her do what I always do: fight and not give up.

"Mentally, I toughed it out."

Hitting 26 winners to the Belarusian's 29, Kontaveit's consistency won the day, hitting 17 unforced errors against Sasnovich's 29, and won four more points (114 to 110) by match's end, converting her WTA final on her fourth match point after two hours and 24 minutes on court.

It will be Kontaveit's first meeting with Vondrousova, and knows to expect another tough match if she hopes to hoist her first WTA trophy.

"She's had really good wins, and it looks like she's playing well this week."