BUDAPEST, Hungary – No.8 seed Marketa Vondrousova produced a gutsy display to win through to the quarterfinals of the Hungarian Ladies Open in Budapest with a 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 victory over Anna Blinkova that lasted over two-and-a-half hours.

Vondrousouva had comfortably won the two previous meetings between these players, in a 2017 ITF event in Grenoble and later that same year in French Open qualifying. This was to prove an altogether more complicated match for the teenager in just her second event of the year. 

The first set was an unpredictable affair, full of cat-and-mouse tennis, in which the Russian missed four successive set points in the tiebreak and ended up losing it in an hour and a quarter of absorbing tennis.

She showed her character to hit back in the second but found herself outlasted by her opponent in the decider.

“It was a really tough match,” Vondrousova said after reaching her third career quarterfinal. “She played great. We had so many rallies.”

The opening game of the match was a taste of things to come as it lasted eight minutes, contained four deuces and was eventually won against the serve by the 19-year-old Czech.

Indeed, the first three games would stretch fully 20 minutes with Blinkova immediately able to pull level.

The Russian dictated the heart of the set, but she interspersed her winners with a string of unforced errors, often at crucial junctures. Though the more defensive player, Vondrousouva’s steadier work allowed her to strike 21 winners for just 20 mistakes and fashion 11 break point chances, albeit taking only two.

A lengthy set deservedly went all the way to a tiebreak, in which Blinkova’s greater aggression seemed destined to win the day as she opened up a 6-2 advantage. However, she backed off marginally and Vondrousouva stormed through in determined fashion to win the next six points and take a high-quality decider.

Her exertion in winning the set seemed to take its toll, however, and in the second she flagged. Neither player defended their serve well throughout, but she held only once as Blinkova drew level, 6-3.

While the WTA World No.105 slashed her mistake count, her opponent committed twice as many unforced errors as she hit winners, with her level notably dropping

Feeling her left calf muscle, Vondrousova adopted an increasingly offensive approach in the deciding set. She appeared to be clinging grimly onto her hopes but in the spirit of the match there was a twist as Blinkova’s concentration wandered, allowing herself to be broken.

Vondoursova may have been immediately broken back, but she showed steely determination throughout. Indeed, her opponent was beginning to show signs of fatigue and tamely allowed the Czech back in front.

From that position, an exhausted Vondrousova would not allow the match to escape her, taking the win as he opponent meekly netted in the ninth game.

Irina-Camelia Begu will be her opponent in the quarterfinals after the Romanian defeated Evgeniya Rodina, 6-2, 6-3 in the previous match. 

There was also a victory for Ekaterina Alexandrova, who needed little over an hour and a quarter to defeat Arantxa Rus, 6-4, 6-0 to seal a last eight clash with No.3 seed Pauline Parmentier.