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Vondrousova is latest top talent to emerge from Czech Republic

Rising star: Marketa Vondrousova
Rising star: Marketa Vondrousova

By Eleanor Crooks

Marketa Vondrousova, who will take on Britain's Johanna Konta in the French Open semi-finals tomorrow, is the latest big female talent to emerge from the Czech Republic.

The 19-year-old burst into the world's top 100 two years ago before injuries stalled her progress last season.

But she has more than made up for that this year, and her 26 wins from 31 matches since the Australian Open is the best record of anyone on the women's tour.

She is currently at a career-high ranking of 38th and will climb into the top 20 on Monday regardless of the outcome against Konta.

Vondrousova was beaming from ear to ear after beating Petra Martic in a high-class quarter-final on Tuesday to reach the last four at a Slam for the first time.

She said: "It's not happening every day, right? I'm just really happy with my game. And it was a very tough match for me. I beat her for the first time in my life, so it's amazing."

Vondrousova is one of five Czech women in the top 50, led by second-ranked Karolina Pliskova, and the relatively small country has won the Fed Cup six times in the last eight years.

Vondrousova remembers being inspired watching Petra Kvitova win the first of her two Wimbledon titles in 2011.

"We have so many Czech players, especially girls," she said.

"It was nice looking up when I was a kid, and I was enjoying watching Czech tennis and Fed Cup. It's cool."

Vondrousova is small in the modern game at only 5ft 6in but is an excellent mover having grown up on clay, and has an attractive all-court game, with a particular penchant for the drop shot.

She and Konta have played twice previously, with Vondrousova winning in Indian Wells last year and Konta in Rome last month

Both matches were tight, and Vondrousova said of her opponent: "She has great form and it's going to be a tough match, but we'll see. In semi-finals I think anything can happen. I just can't wait to play."

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