INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Marketa Vondrousova stunned former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in three sets at the BNP Paribas Open to bring up a fourth-round clash against Simona Halep.
The 18-year-old from the Czech Republic is one of five teenagers in the WTA’s Top 100, but she played like a veteran against No.22 seed Jelena Ostapenko. After dropping the opening set, Vondrousova rallied back to seal the victory 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 after more than two hours on court.
“We played a great match. She played a great few games in the first set so I was down like 0-4, but I just kept fighting and playing my game,” Vondrousova told wtatennis.com after the match. “She did some mistakes I think, and I had some chances. But it was a great match for both of us.”
Vondrousova recovered from a double break deficit in the first set, clawing her way back from 0-4 down to recover both of the breaks - but the set still slipped by in a heartbreaker as Ostapenko pounded her returns to win the last game with a final break at 5-4.
She was finally rewarded with an early break to the Czech’s serve, but Vondrousova quickly bounced back to level the score at 2-2. Vondrousova applied the pressure to a vulnerable Ostapenko second serve, and reeled off four games in a row to seal the second set and force a decider. The pair traded breaks twice, staying toe to toe all the way through 4-4 before the Czech teenager broke through in the final game to oust the No.22 seed.
“I think I went after her second serve more after the first set,” Vondrousova explained. “I just started pushing her and putting the pressure on her, and she did some double faults. I think this was the main key. I’m pleased that I was able to keep fighting like this.”
The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for Vondrousova, as she’s set to face another French Open champion in her next match: this time, No.2 seed Simona Halep awaits in the fourth round. Halep escaped from a close encounter against Kateryna Kozlova to win 7-6(3), 7-5 earlier in the day.
“I’ve never played her, but I know she’s a great player so I’ll have to keep fighting and try to enjoy the match,” Vondrousova said. “I saw her in Czech for the Fed Cup, so I’m going to talk about this with my coach and prepare for this. It’s going to be a very tough match.”
Also edging into the fourth round, No.18 seed Wang Qiang survived a nailbiter against No.16 seed Elise Mertens, escaping to win 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 6-3 after a marathon three-hour battle.
Wang’s reward for reaching the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the second year in a row will be a clash against one of the tournament’s most in-form players: Bianca Andreescu.
The 18-year-old wildcard from Canada spoiled Stefanie Voegele’s birthday party, notching a quick 6-1, 6-2 victory over the Swiss player.
“It's crazy, really. If someone would have told me I would have gone to the [fourth] round of this tournament at the beginning of the year, I would have said, You're crazy,” Andreescu said after the win. “It's just an incredible experience. This is one of the best tournaments in the world, so I'm just really, really happy.”
In action later today, No.12 seed Ashleigh Barty will take on American Jennifer Brady under the lights of Stadium 1 to close out the bottom-half third round in Indian Wells.
More to follow...