There was a time when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics weren’t meant to be for Marketa Vondrousova—that is, until the crafty Czech unleashed her full arsenal to take control of her destiny and guarantee herself a place on the podium with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina.
The 2019 Roland Garros runner-up reeled off 11 of the final 13 games to roar into the final of a tournament she nearly didn’t play after just 64 minutes in Ariake Coliseum. Rival Belinda Bencic awaits after the No. 9 seed triumphed over Elena Rybakina in three thrilling sets.
Vondrousova was undeniably a controversial entrant into the Olympics at the start of the week; the Czech lefty had ostensibly played a sinister hand when she used a protected ranking to bump fourth-ranked countrywoman Karolina Muchova off the team. Where Muchova has enjoyed a career-best season as one of the few women to reach multiple major quarterfinals in 2021, Vondrousova recently dropped out of the Top 40, having failed to defend her Roland Garros points from two years prior.
Ironically, the global pandemic and subsequent ranking freeze has largely kept her from applying her that peak rank of No. 14, something she opted into after a 2019 wrist surgery unexpectedly shut down her season.