INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - There will be no all-teen semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open, as No.6 seed Elina Svitolina rallied from a set down to defeat 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the California desert on Wednesday night, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Vondrousova seemed primed for a spot in the final four against breakout 18-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu, as she not only led the No.6 seed by a set for the second time in three career meetings, but also led by a break in the deciding set.
Undaunted, however, the Ukranian denied Vondrousova a fourth straight win over a seeded player, and second consecutive Top 10 victory in Indian Wells with a furious fight back, as she claimed four of the last five games to reach her third semifinal of the season.
"The key was today just fighting for every ball and just trying to put one extra ball at the net. It was not a perfect match for me, but I was fighting," said Svitolina.
"I had to really stay in the match and try to put one extra ball. In the end, this is what brought me and what gave me the chance. I took it in the end to win the match."
— WTA (@WTA) March 14, 2019
Despite over 50 spots between them in the rankings and an 0-2 head-to-head deficit, it was the Czech teenager who started the brighter of the two in the first set as she broke Svitolina in the very first game of the match.
Though the World No.6 immediately broke back to love, Vondrousova's decisive break to win the set ultimately came relatively early, as she won the Ukrainian's serve to 15 in the fifth game, and was never taken to deuce on her own serve for the rest of the set.
Svitolina dug out of consecutive 15-40 deficits on serve early in the second set which allowed her to keep her nose in front, before she broke Vondrousova for the first time in the middle set to lead 3-1.
Ultimately, the pair traded breaks twice and Vondrousova found herself two games away from victory as she toughed out a hold for 4-4, but Svitolina held to love and broke for a third time in the Czech's last four service games of the set to take the match the distance.
"She is tricky because she has this different spin. You have to move really good. I think these conditions here, they really benefit her game. The ball bounce very high," the Ukrainian added.
"That's why I have to move really good. In the beginning, physically I was not 100% there. That's why I had to really push myself physically today, because the rallies were long."
— WTA (@WTA) March 14, 2019
Svitolina has logged nearly six hours on court across her fourth round and quarterfinal matches, as she also needed three sets to defeat Ashleigh Barty in three hours and 11 minutes on Wednesday - the longest match of the year to date.
"I was just trying to bring everything what I've got left in my body. Because I know that tomorrow is a day off, so it's a good thing. I have some time to recover. For me, it's important," she said.
"The body is feeling, you know, a little bit tired. It's normal, but in the end, I'm very happy. The physical part that I improved and stayed strong for two tough matches."
The Ukranian will next attempt to cool off the red-hot Andreescu, who had a much easier path through to the final four in her BNP Paribas Open debut: the wildcard surrendered just one game to defeat former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza.
"She plays great tennis. I think she moves good, and I have to be ready," she said. "We saw, I think, just a little bit of her matches, because she's just 18 years old.
"You remember when you were 18 years old and you're playing against these top players at big tourn mentally ready. I will just try to bring my best game for the semifinal."