German Open: Vekic upsets Rybakina to reach quarterfinals


Berlin, June 21 (IANS) Croatia’s Donna Vekic earned her second Top 10 win of the season with a 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-4 upset of No.2 seed Elena Rybakina in the second round of the German Open, here on Wednesday.

In 2 hours and 14 minutes, World No. 23 Vekic ended the reigning Wimbledon champion’s nine-match unbeaten run, as well as her eight-match winning streak on grass. But the Croatian is a capable grass-courter herself, and she is now through to her sixth career WTA Tour quarterfinal on the surface.

Three of Vekic’s 11 career finals have come on grass, and she won Nottingham in 2017.

The win over World No.3 Rybakina is Vekic’s 12th career Top 10 win and her second after beating then-No.5 Caroline Garcia in the Monterrey final in February.

Vekic’s last win over a Top 3 player, however, was a defeat of Aryna Sabalenka, also No.3 at the time, two summers ago at the Tokyo Olympics.

Withstanding 15 aces off Rybakina’s racquet, Vekic credited her mentality with allowing her to turn around the match, facing the woman whom she called “the best server on the women’s tour right now.”

“I’m really happy to not only beat her, but to be in the quarterfinals here. I stayed in the moment. I was just trying to play the next point, the next game. She was serving unbelievable today. She’s definitely, I think, the best server on the women’s tour right now. She was serving really big, so I was like, ‘Just stay with her; your chances will come,’ and they did,” Vekic said afterwards.

“I was just trying to go for it, to be aggressive, which is not easy. In a way, I found myself lucky almost every time I could get the return in. I felt in a better position once I was in the rally, but to get her serve back was not easy,” she added.

Vekic will next face lucky loser Elina Avanesyan who, after saving two match points to beat Daria Kasatkina in the first round, backed that up with another comeback on Wednesday: a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Anna Blinkova.



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