ROME, Italy - Czech left-hander Marketa Vondrousova secured her first Top 10 victory in over a year on Saturday at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over No.4 seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
Showcasing the clay-court prowess that took her all the way to the French Open final last year, the 21-year-old needed 80 minutes to secure a stunning victory over the two-time champion and advance to her first semifinal since her exploits in Paris last year.
After playing a marathon 6-1, 1-6, 7-6(5) three-setter against Polona Hercog in Friday's third round, in which the Slovenian served for a win, in the last match on Court Centrale, the Czech looked none the worse for wear less than 24 hours later against the World No.6, but revealed after the match that she overcame the quick turnaround to play her best.
"I finished at midnight yesterday, so it was kind of tough and I didn't sleep much. I think I played an amazing match today. I didn't even expect this, but I'm just happy to be through and happy with this win," Vondrousova said.
"I didn't do so many errors, and I hit so many great drop shots. I also served really well, and overall, I think I played a great match today.
"She's a great player and she beat me three times already. She's a great runner, she hits hard and serves really well, but I think I just played better today."
A maiden Premier 5 semifinal 👏@VondrousovaM picks up a third top 10 career win and a first against Svitolina with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-0 upset of the two-time champ.#IBI20 pic.twitter.com/3zukFNWwxV— wta (@WTA) September 19, 2020
In an opening set which saw a plethora of break points for both players, it was the No.12 seed who used her chances to greater effect.
Vondrousova fought off six break points across her first two service games and secured the deciding break of serve for the set in the fourth game, ultimately opening up a 4-1 lead.
After Svitolina fought off three chances for the Czech to lead 5-1, two more break points passed the World No.6 by in the seventh game, as she ultimately went 0-for-8 on opportunities in the set.
Growing in confidence, the Czech used her variety to great effect by opening up the court with her swinging left-handed forehand and routinely drawing Svitolina in with perfectly-placed backhand drop shots, and ran off the last seven games of the match to seal her third career Top 10 win and first win over the Ukrainian in four attempts.
In all, Vondrousova racked up 25 winners, nearly tripling Svitolina's total of nine for the match, while the former champion racked up 26 unforced errors.
Having previously beaten Simona Halep twice last year for her other two victories against the world's elite, Vondrousova will bid for a place in the final against either defending champion and No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova or No.11 seed Elise Mertens.
"I didn't play very well in the U.S. so it was kind of tough for me, but now on clay, of course, it changed. I'm just very happy with this result," the Czech added.
"Both are very tough and Karolina is playing amazing here. She won it last year so I think she feels really well here. Elise is also playing great also... so it's going to be a tough match, whoever wins."