Unseeded players Donna Vekic and Dayana Yastremska will meet across the net for the third time in their respective careers when they go head-to-head in the last eight of the Adelaide International. Both women emerged from a quarter that became wide open after the withdrawals of seeded players Petra Kvitova and Kiki Bertens before tournament play began, as each of them are looking to add another win under their belt in preparation for the upcoming Australian Open.
The young and talented Yastremska is now in her fourth season on tour, with three titles to her name already. The big-hitting Ukrainian won her maiden title in Hong Kong 2018, becoming the first player male or female born in the new century to lift a tour title. She has since added two more trophies, Hua Hin and Strasbourg, both in 2019. The teenager ended 2019 ranked 22nd, improving her 2018 year-end ranking of 60th, and is looking to build on what has been a promising young career thus far.
The Ukrainian suffered a glitch in Brisbane last week, where she lost her first match of the season to Bertens in three sets. Things look to be improving for her in Adelaide this week, however, as the Ukrainian saw off Timea Babos and ninth seed Angelique Kerber, the latter via retirement, to move into the last eight.
Vekic, like Yastremska, was also a promising rising star when she broke out by making her first final in 2012 at Tashkent when she was just 16. She then claimed her maiden title at the Malaysian Open in 2014. The Croat faced several challenges soon after, which saw her ranking slip outside the top 100 in 2015 and 2016. She has since recovered and is on the rise once again, improving her year-end ranking each year, making her debut in the top 20 in 2019, and also her maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance at the 2019 US Open.
Like Yastremska, the powerful Croat kicked off her 2020 campaign in Brisbane where she lost her opener, to Kazakh Yulia Putintseva. Vekic’s road to the quarterfinals however was not as straightforward as Yastremska’s as the Croat was taken to a decider in her matches here so far, against Anastasija Sevastova and Maria Sakkari.
Both players have met twice on the tour. Their first clash came in the semifinals of an ITF event in St. Petersburg in 2017, which Yastremska won after Vekic retired in the second set, with Yastremska up a set. Their second meeting came in the back end of the previous season, at the WTA Elite Trophy, where Yastremska prevailed in their round-robin encounter in straight sets.
As said, Vekic is seeking her first win over Yastremska. Yastremska, having yet to drop a set to her Croatian opponent, enters this match with confidence and is also fresher among the two, having yet to drop a set at the tournament so far.
Their encounter this time around, however, should be a more closely-fought affair and expect Vekic to get her first ever set of Yastremska. In the end, victory will belong to Yastremska once more with the Ukrainian, this time, earning a spot in her maiden Premier-level semifinal.
Prediction: Dayana Yastremska in three sets