ACAPULCO, Mexico - No.3 seed Donna Vekic is through to her third semifinal of 2019 after edging past Johanna Konta in straight sets at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC.
Vekic came into the tournament looking to continue her red-hot start to the year, which has seen her reach the semifinals in Brisbane and her first Premier-level final at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.
Up against Konta, a familiar foe that edged her 3-2 in the pair’s head-to-head record coming into the match, Vekic was pushed to the limit but came up with the 6-3, 7-5 victory in an hour and 26 minutes.
The Croat had to come back from a set down three times in the rollercoaster match - once in the first set and twice in the second. Vekic found herself on the ropes right away as Konta got going with an early break to lead 1-0. The No.3 seed broke straight back to keep them level, and applied the pressure to the vulnerable Konta second serve.
As a result, Vekic was rewarded with break point opportunities, one at 3-2 and another handful at 4-3. She converted the latter, needing three chances to do so before Konta finally surrendered the break with an errant forehand. It was enough to give Vekic the set, and she powered ahead to a 6-3 lead.
Vekic continued to roll in the second set, starting with a break at 1-0, but quickly found herself in trouble as Konta raised her level. The Brit went on a four-game tear, earning the break back before putting herself ahead 4-2 with the help of a Vekic double fault.
Konta and Vekic continued to wrestle with the momentum as Vekic broke back to make it 4-3 - they traded breaks again with Vekic having to come back from behind again as Konta served for the set at 5-4. With the match deadlocked at 5-5 and a tiebreaker looming, Vekic slammed the door on the Brit’s comeback effort - she broke to love at 6-5 and calmly served out the match with an ace to finish after just under an hour and a half.
Vekic posted solid numbers, firing five aces and winning 59% of points behind her first serves. The Croat seemed to adjust better than Konta to the swirling winds in Acapulco: Vekic struck 16 winners to Konta’s 17, but managed to keep her unforced error count in check, striking 16 - less than half of Konta’s 34.
Another key to the match was Vekic’s stronger second serve, which allowed her to win 54% of points while Konta’s won 25% of her own second-serve points.
Through to the semifinals in her Acapulco debut, Vekic will take on the on-the-rise Wang Yafan, who earlier to today knocked out Beatriz Haddad Maia in two sets, 6-3, 6-4.
More to follow...