Donna Vekic’s remarkable achievement at the Australian Open after an ugly scandal
Australian tennis champion Casey Dellacqua has hailed Donna Vekic’s career comeback after she threatened to be derailed by the scandal. Vekic came face to face with Aryna Sabalenka On wednesday to get a place in Australian Open semi final.
Things didn’t start well for Vekic when he was broken in just the fourth game, giving up an early 3-1 lead. After successfully returning to serve, Sabalenka broke again to go up 5-3 before taking out the first set 6-3.
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Sabalenka kept her momentum going in the second set after breaking Vekic straight away to take a 2-0 lead. Despite the result, Vekic wasn’t going to go down without a fight and forced Sabalenka to pull out her best tennis.
Vekic continued to struggle with her serve after dropping 12 double faults midway through the second set. Sabalenka dropped one of her service matches, but went on to break Vekic as she raced away to win 6-3, 6-2.
Regardless of losing to Sabalenka in the quarterfinals, Vekic can be proud of the fact that she is still playing and qualifying for the Grand Slam quarterfinals. The Croatian’s career was thrown into disarray in 2015 when she became the unwitting victim of an unsavory sled from Nick Kyrgios towards her then-boyfriend Stan Wawrinka.
During a match at the Canadian Open, Kyrgios told Wawrinka: “(Thansy) Kokkinakis hit your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you about that partner.” Kyrgios was widely condemned at the time and only recently returned to good terms with Wawrinka.
Vekic, 26, also suffered a very public split from 37-year-old Wawrinka in 2019. Their relationship initially raised eyebrows when Wawrinka left his wife for a woman 11 years his junior.
But despite the controversy and scandal, Vekic rose to the top and let her tennis do the talking. Reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open marked her best performance at a major tournament after reaching the same stage at the 2019 US Open.
For the great Australian Dellacqua, her show at Melbourne Park was fantastic. “I feel like it’s been around for a long time,” Dellacqua told Channel Nine on Wednesday morning.
“I’m really happy because she’s been doing some really great work off the court, I would say, and she’s been rewarded on the court in terms of her playing in the Nations Cup and now here at the Australian Open. Years, we know she’s been with Stan clearly and it just didn’t work out.
“But she’s always had an amazing family, and she’s had amazing parents around her, and they’ve supported her unconditionally, and you can tell when you talk to her. You’ve got a lot of life out of her, Donna, in terms of her maturity and where she came from and where she is now, So I think the best is yet to come for a player like Donna Vekic. I hope it will be anyway, because she is my ‘favorite’.”
Magda Linette is a semi-finalist at the Australian Open
Sabalenka will now play Magda Linette in the semi-finals after the Polish veteran continued her amazing run on Wednesday. The unranked 30-year-old caused another big surprise, By defeating former world number one Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5.
Sabalenka has been in a career-best form in Australia and will fantasize about her chances of reaching her first Australian Open final in 2023. She will face the Polish ace who is yet to reach the semifinals of a Slam, but is in great shape.
Linnett had not advanced past the third round in her previous 29 Grand Slam appearances. Five of the players she beat at Melbourne Park this year are ranked in the top 20.
“It’s so emotional. I really can’t believe it. Dreams do come true,” she said.
“We keep playing though. I don’t want to get too excited because we’re still in the championship but I’m very grateful and happy.”
The key to her amazing ride, Lynette said, is maintaining her composure on the court. “All my life I’ve been making mistakes and losses very personally, so I had to separate those two things,” she said.
“It was really hard, because a lot of times I felt like mistakes, mistakes, were defining me. My coaches and I did a really great job, and I’m really grateful to them, because they really put up with a lot of shit.”
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