Her form is alarming. Markéta Vondroušová is having an excellent tournament in Rome and confirms that the slow clay in the Foro Italico complex suits her perfectly. The Czech tennis player has removed two big stars from her path without significant problems, and another is waiting for her: Wimbledon winner Jelena Rybakinová.
Already years ago, in the spring of 2019, when, at the age of just nineteen, she drove her opponents to despair at Roland Garros and reached the final in Paris, she and her team exaggeratedly considered having T-shirts made with a new nickname: The Dropshot Queen – Královna dropshots.
Vondroušová has been plagued by injuries since then, but brilliant technique and a golden hand when playing short shots close to the net remain in her arsenal.
“She has the best drop shot in all of women’s tennis,” Alex Macpherson of the WTA website wrote a few days ago. He did not yet know what feast for the eyes the Czech tennis player would unleash in Rome.
The US Open champion Bianca Andreescu from Canada allowed a single game to be won, then she advanced to the round of 16 after defeating the current world number eight Maria Sakkari from Greece.
The English word “stunning”, i.e. dazzling, stunning or simply sensational, appears most often in responses to the performances of the native of Sokol.
“Stunning Vondroušová! Outstanding performance, in 2023 she is 3:1 against top ten players and 7:3 against top twenty players,” reported the Relevant Tennis Twitter account.
“Markéta Vondroušová is showing dazzling tennis in Rome. There are not many players in the world who would like to face the Czech tennis player on such slow clay,” said Tumaini Carayol, tennis editor of The Guardian newspaper.
“She absolutely destroyed Andreescu and added another very impressive performance against Sakkari,” added Portuguese journalist José Morgado.
“Vondroušová continues her ride as a destroyer of giants,” the WTA website wrote, alluding to how easily the Czech can deal with famous sock players.
According to the site, her famous dropshot was a key weapon right from the start. Vondroušová didn’t wait for anything and helped herself by shortening the first game, in which she broke the Greek’s serve. But it was far from just “shorts”.
“Vondroušová also outsmarted Sakkariova with great passes and accurate lobs, and she also showed a rock-solid serve,” the website said.
The success rate of the first serve was 76 percent for the Czech, she won 75 percent of the exchanges after the first service.
In Rome, Vondroušová feels like a fish in water with her game. In 2019, she reached the quarter-finals at the Italian “thousander”, and a year later the semi-finals. In total, she collected ten victories and only three defeats at the important tournament.
As the bookmakers’ odds show, she will be the favorite even against one of the best players of the season, Jelena Rybakinová. Despite the fact that Vondrousova is ranked 70th, while the naturalized Kazakh holds sixth place.
“She’s an excellent player,” said the Wimbledon champion when she learned the name of her next opponent. “It will be a tough battle. She is a left-hander, very unpredictable with her dropshots. I will try to prepare for it,” said Rybakin.
Hopefully, the Czech tennis player will finally be able to rely on her health, which her extraordinary talent regularly knocks down. “I’m kind of used to constantly coming back after an injury. But now I don’t feel any pain, which is very important,” said Vondroušová.
She had to end last season already in mid-April due to problems with her wrist, for which she underwent surgery. She didn’t want to rush Comeback this time, she is more careful and listens to her body more.
“When I feel tired, I play less. The body tells you when to stop. It’s not good to play more than you can handle,” said the silver medalist from the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s important to have a good team around you that lets you start slow and doesn’t expect you to play great right away. I was just happy to be back on the court. I enjoyed it more. The good thing about the surgeries is that you feel grateful for being back. You realize how much you love tennis,” Vondroušová confided.
Leave a Reply