Donna Vekic – rising Croatian Star reaches Tashkent Open final

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Ranked 183 on the WTA rankings list, sixteen year old Donna Vekic had not broken through qualifying rounds in her short WTA career until she arrived at the Tashkent Open being played this week.

Unseeded even in the qualifiers, she beat that part of the tournament’s 4th seed in her third match to make it into the main draw where, in her first match, she proceeded to upset the fourth seed, Madgdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, ranked 66, after a 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 victory. In the second round, she easily beat 91st ranked Lara Arruabarrena- Vecino of Spain 6-2 6-2. Her success continued into the quarters, where she took out another seed, the sixth seeded and 72nd ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia, 6-4 6-4. Into her first semi final against the equally unseeded Eva Birnerova of the Czech Republic, she played a topsy turvy match which highlighted her inexperience, hitting nine aces but also offering her opponent 19 break point opportunities (14 of which were converted). Vekic finally won the match 6-1 3-6 6-1 in just over an hour and a half. She will now meet Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in the final.

Also in the top half of the draw, the number one seed with a ranking of 33, Monica Niculescu of Romania, was beaten in the first round by Karin Knapp of Italy; while another Romanian, Alexandra Cadantu, ranked 68 and seeded fifth, was beaten by in the third round by Eva Birnerova.

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