BRISBANE, Australia - Donna Vekic's surge continues at the Brisbane International, routing 2018 finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2, 6-0 to reach her second Premier semifinal in under an hour.
"I'm really happy with the match today," she said during her on-court interview. "I played really well, took time away so she couldn't play her game, and be aggressive. I'm really happy with that."
Vekic continued to enthuse in her post-match press conference, describing her performance as "one of the most perfect matches I've ever played in my career - everything was going well for me."
Vekic ended a season of firsts at a career-high ranking of No.34, and the 22-year-old Croat proved she's here for seconds to start 2019, backing up her semifinal run at the Toray Pan Pacific Open with another in Brisbane after 56 minutes on Centre Court.
The two-time WTA titlist has arrived in Australia fresh off a positive off-season: "I really had a lot of time - I had six weeks," she said. "I worked a lot on my fitness, a lot on my tennis, both together. So I think I was really eager to get out there and play matches and be back to competitive tennis. I had enough of practice."
Sasnovich has played some of her best tennis at this tournament over the last two years, finishing runner-up last year and avenging that loss to top seed and reigning BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champion Elina Svitolina earlier in the week.
Still, the Belarusian had no answers for Vekic's effortless aggression; though both women hit 16 winners, the latter hit just five unforced errors to Sasnovich's 19.
Equally relentless on serve and return, Vekic won an impressive 70% of first serve points and converted all five break point opportunities to close out the second set without losing a game.
"It was a little sad to leave home straight after Christmas but I was happy to be back playing tournaments again. I hope to play a few more matches here."
Keeping a consistent level - particularly on serve - and a cool head are Vekic's resolutions for 2019, and she has been displaying both so far this week. Regarding the latter, the former teen phenom says that six years after first breaking through to the Top 100, she is much better equipped to deal with the inevitable highs and lows.
"I think now I'm a little bit more calm, because I know that if I do the work off the court, maybe it won't come the first week, but it'll come in one month, two months or six months," she said. "But it's going to come - because if you do the right things and if you work hard, I don't think you can not play well."
Awaiting Vekic in the final four is either Ajla Tomljanovic or 2017 Brisbane International champion and former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova.
"I know them both, and like them both. They're good friends of mine, and I think it's going to be a really good match. I'm going to sit back and watch."