There is an unseeded semifinalist in the women’s singles draw of the 2019 French Open. On Tuesday in the women’s quarterfinals, Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic knocked off the 31st ranked seed Petra Martic of Croatia in straight sets 7-6, 7-5.
In an impressive display of clay court tennis, Vondrousova is clearly making her mark at Roland Garros. The 38th ranked player in the world (only top 32 players are seeded) has yet to drop a set in her first five matches. Oh, and she is only 19 years of age.
Along the way at the 2019 French Open, Vondrousova has beaten Yafan Wang of China 6-4, 6-3 in the first round, Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-4, 6-0 in the second round, seven-time grand slam quarterfinalist Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-4 in the third round, and then the 12th seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia (the 2018 U.S. Open semifinalist) in the fourth round.
There is no doubt that Vondrousova has exemplified tremendous composure on the court. As a teenager, this quality is rather surprising. Especially when it was the 28 year-old Martic who was rattled.
Another impressive part of Vondrousova’s play in the last two matches has been her resiliency. In her win over Sevastova, she fell, appeared to injure her hand, got up and won the match. In her win over Martic on Tuesday, Vondrousova once again fell as she was coming to the net and got clay all over her back. She got up again, and won the second set to close out a very entertaining set.
Having an unseeded semifinalist in the French Open women’s draw is not as uncommon as you might expect. It has happened three times in the last four years. In 2016, Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands reached the women’s semifinals before losing 7-6, 6-4 to Serena Williams of the United States. Then in 2017, unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia reached the semifinals of the French Open against Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.
What is uncommon however is to see an unseeded player win the French Open ladies singles tournament or to have two unseeded women’s players reach the semifinals in the same year. Both could happen in 2019. On Wednesday, the American sensation Amanda Anisimova (ranked 51st) is facing the defending champion Simona Halep of Romania in the quarterfinals. If Anisimova pulls off the upset, it will be the first time since 1983 that two unseeded players reached the French Open semifinals in women’s singles. That year unseeded Jo Durie of Great Britain met unseeded Mima Jausovec of Yugoslavia in the final four with Jausovec prevailing 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Jausovec then reached the French Open Final, where she was hammered 6-1, 6-2 by Chris Evert of the United States.
In another remarkable statistic, only two unseeded women’s singles players have won the French Open since 1933. In 2017, Ostapenko shocked the tennis world by beating Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final. The last time before that an unranked player won the French Open women’s singles final was 86 years ago when Margaret Scriven of Great Britain beat Simonne Mathieu of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.