Vekic wants to avenge Bencic after ending a teenager’s Melbourne run


Donna Vekic ended Linda Fruhvirtova’s fairytale Australian Open in the fourth round on Monday, then took revenge on her last-eight opponent for knocking out her good friend Belinda Bencic.

The Croatian seeded 64 defeated the 17-year-old Czech 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

She now faces Aryna Sabalenka for a place in the semifinals at Melbourne Park after Belarusian ousted fifth seed Bencic in straight sets in twelfth seed.

Sabalenka’s win upset Vekic’s plans, who were looking forward to meeting Switzerland’s Bencic in the quarter-finals.

“All our matches have been very tough, so I’m sure the next one will be too,” she said of the eighth match with Sabalenka, who is emerging as a title favorite as she hasn’t dropped a set in 2023. .

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“It’s a big match for both of us. I’m sure she’ll feel it too. I’ll try to get revenge for Belinda,” she smiled.

“Really sad it’s not Belinda. But I’m sure she’ll give me some tips.’

She may not need them. Vekic has played against Sabalenka six times on the WTA Tour and has a 5-1 lead in wins.

– ‘Keep fighting’ –

She defeated Sabalenka in three sets when they last played, in San Diego in 2022.

She also knocked the Belarusian out of the Tokyo Olympics, which happened to be won by Bencic.

“I have a great record with her. All our matches have been very tough, so I’m sure the next one will be too,” said Vekic.

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The last-16 match was uncharted territory for Czech Fruhvirtova, the youngest player left in the draw.

The teenager reached the second round of the 2022 US Open on her Grand Slam debut.

Her run in Melbourne was more a testament to her rich promise, especially as she fought back from a set down to play her part in a wonderfully entertaining 2hr 7min battle at Margaret Court Arena.

“I didn’t really feel like I had much control in the second set to be honest, but I just had to keep fighting and hoping and believing that I’m going to win,” said 26-year-old Vekic.

Vekic extended her own win streak to seven games after being undefeated in three games at the United Cup.

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Sabalenka’s is eight.

82nd-ranked Fruhvirtova showed all the fighting spirit and talent that defines her as a future Grand Slam champion as she charged into the second set in 35 minutes.

But it was the more experienced Vekic who was able to go the distance, though she still had to battle the never-to-say Fruhvirtova for 53 minutes to progress to victory.

“It definitely showed me that I can be in the quarterfinals of Grand Slams,” said Fruhvirtova.

“I think Vekic is in a good shape at the moment, but it was about a few points. I was very good in the rallies. It was close, but it definitely showed me what I need to work on now and stronger must come back.”



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