AEGON Open Nottingham 2017: Vekic stuns Safarova as she progresses through to WTA Final

Donna Vekic reached tomorrow's Women's Tennis Association's (WTA) final in three sets with a 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Lucie Safarova.

Could Vekic cause a shock?

2015 French Open finalist Safarova was the one who came into this match as clear favourite to progress to Sunday’s final. She will have been determined to reach the final of the tournament, knowing full well she was most likely going to be facing Brit Johanna Konta on Sunday. Her quality is shown in her ranking as she is still ranked as No. 28 in the world for singles by the WTA and has the quality to beat any of the top female players.

Despite Vekic coming into this match as the underdog, Safarova will have been privately aware of her potential to cause an upset. The Croatian is currently ranked at No. 90 in the world, so obviously has the quality to put in a decent performance. She has seen off the likes of Shelby Rogers, Julia Boserup and Maria Sakkari so far in this tournament and will have been pleased with her progress. 

A tight first set swings Vekic's way 

Both players showed their qualities at the start of this opening set. Despite various oppurtunities to break, both players contributed to six consecutive holds of serve. Vekic actually wasted three break points alone in the fourth game. The first break of the set came in the seventh game as Safarova went 4-3 as she took advantage of her break point at the first opportunity.

Vekic impressed throughout this match. (picture: Getty Images / David Kissman)
Vekic impressed throughout this match. (picture: Getty Images / David Kissman)

However, Vekic broke back in the tenth game to make it 5-5 as she converted her second break point with a stunning shot. She then held comfortably to make it 6-5. Safarova was then able to send the opening set into a tie break by holding her serve to make it 6-6, despite the fact Vekic could not convert a break point. Vekic did not let this disappoint her as she stepped up in the tie break to win it 7-5 and take the opening set 7-6. 

Safarova responds by dominating second set

The second set began with three consecutive holds of serve as Safarova went 2-1 ahead with a perfect service game. The Czech Republic player was then able to break in the fourth game with her first break point. She followed this up with her second perfect service game in a row to go 4-1 ahead. However, Vekic was then able to hold to reduce the deficit to 4-2 despite Safarova being 0-40 ahead. A further three consecutive holds from both players saw Safarova take the second set 6-3 and send the two players into a decider. 

Vekic comes out on top in marathon match

Both players were holding their serves relatively comfortably at the start of this deciding set. However, a controversial incident took place in the sixth game much to the displeasure of Vekic. The umpire called Safarova’s shot in when it looked clearly out when Vekic was on a break point. It frustrated Vekic even more when Safarova went on to then win the game and make it 3-3.

Lucie Safarova will be disappointed not to have made the final. (picture: Getty Images / David Kissman)
Lucie Safarova will be disappointed not to have made the final. (picture: Getty Images / David Kissman)

Vekic was able to break Safarova’s serve in the eight game despite her being 40-0 down. However, she let herself down by allowing Safarova to break straight back to make it 5-4 and then hold to level it up once again at 5-5. Both players then easily held their serves to send it into a tie break at 6-6. It was Vekic who came out on top in what was a scintillating tie break to take the deciding set 7-6 and the match 2-1, much to the delight of her coaching staff.

What next for Vekic?

Vekic will now come up against Johanna Konta in Sunday’s WTA final at the AEGON Open Nottingham. Konta managed to beat Magdalena Rybarikova in their semi-final match earlier on in the day. She managed to beat the Slovakian player in two sets, 6-2, 7-5. Vekic will be looking to upset the odds once again as she looks to beat the British No. 1 tomorrow.