In a battle between youth and experience for a place in the US Open quarterfinals, Lesia Tsurenko, the 29-year-old Ukrainian, takes on the Czech Republic’s rising star, 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova. For both women, who have played some excellent tennis to reach the second week, the chance to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time should give this match plenty of spice. But will it be Tsurenko or Vondrousova who books their spot in the last eight?
This will be the first meeting between Tsurenko and Vondrousova, which is unsurprising when the Czech’s age is considered. Equally unsurprising is that Tsurenko holds a considerable advantage in terms of experience. Tsurenko has won four titles and has a career-record of 373-249. She is also competing in her 29th Grand Slam main draw. Vondrousova is yet to win a title at Tour-level and is playing in only her seventh Major.
Path to the fourth round
Tsurenko arrived in New York after a good run in Cincinnati where she upset seventh seed and defending champion Garbine Muguruza en route to the quarterfinals (lost to Halep). She continued her fine form with a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round, before dismissing second seed and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-2. She backed that impressive win up with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Katerina Siniakova.
Vondrousova, in contrast, arrived at the US Open without a hard court win to her name all summer. But she snapped that cold streak with a comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over Mona Barthel of Germany in the round of 128 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She then beat former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 6-3 in the second round to set up a clash with Cincinnati champion Kiki Bertens. The Dutchwoman was the favourite, but Vondrousova toughed out a 7-6 2-6 7-6 win.
How do they match up?
Neither Tsurenko nor Vondrousova are amongst the most aggressively inclined of players although if Vondrousova gives Tsurenko time on her backhand, she will be punished. Tsurenko has been the more consistent and accurate of the two so far in New York and has defended very well. She limited Wozniacki to just six winners in their second round encounter. The Dane also hit 35 unforced errors. Siniakova also only managed to hit six winners in the third round against Tsurenko.
That suggests that Vondrousova will have to remain patient when on offence in this match. She was able to do that for the most part against Bertens, hitting 29 winners past the 13th seed, though she did also make 42 unforced errors. Double faults were also a problem with the Czech giving up 10 without hitting a single ace. But she has returned formidably well and she won the point 50% of the time against Bouchard’s serve in the second round, though that number did drop to 37% against Bertens.
It has already been a great US Open for both women, particularly Vondrousova who will rightly feel that this tournament has been a real breakthrough. But unfortunately for the Czech, this is where it will end. Tsurenko has been playing some inspired tennis, with her dominant win over Wozniacki one of the best of her career. And she also has a depth of experience that Vondrousova can’t come close to matching. When the chips are down that will be crucial. Tsurenko in three.