07222017

World number 70 Vekic shocks Konta to win Nottingham Open

Donna Vekic

Vekic’s only other WTA title win was at the Malaysian Open in 2014

Croatia’s Donna Vekic shocked British number one Johanna Konta to win the Nottingham Open final.

The world number 70 came recovered from a disappointing first set to win 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 in temperatures of 30C.

Konta, 26, looked on course for her first grass title on home soil, but struggled with Vekic’s baseline hitting to lose the second set tie-break.

Vekic, 20, edged a tense decider to win her second WTA title, ahead of the start of Wimbledon on 3 July.

“All credit to Donna, she was continuously able to raise her level all throughout that match,” said Konta, who has never gone past the second round of Wimbledon.

Speaking to Eurosport, she added: “I was not able to stay with her. Full credit to her for playing incredibly well.

“But I’m very happy that I got to play five great matches on the grass. For Donna and I, heading into Wimbledon, we just want to play on the surface as much as possible.”

How the match unfolded

Johanna Konta<!–

Konta has never gone past the second round at Wimbledon

The Croatian struggled with her nerves in the first set and she double faulted twice in the first game to hand the early initiative to Konta, the world number eight.

Konta broke again at 5-2 and served to take the set in 38 minutes.

The second set saw a rejuvenated Vekic find consistency with her serve and she began to trouble Konta with her deep returns.

Vekic broke early in the set but another double fault, she served eight in the match, saw Konta break back immediately.

As the set wore on, Konta became frustrated with the umpire’s line calls and blamed the state of the chalk on the lines, for what she felt were incorrect decisions.

Konta’s over reliance on the drop shot saw her struggle in the tie-break as Vekic forced a decider by taking the set in just over and hour.

The Croatian broke early again in the final set, but Konta regained her focus to level at 3-3.

Vekic’s confidence fluctuated, but she held impressively to apply scoreboard pressure and then broke with some more strong hitting at 5-6, before serving for the title.

“It’s pretty amazing. It’s my first grass-court title and my second overall. I’m really happy,” said Vekic. “Jo played amazing, she’s having an amazing year, but I was just trying to focus on myself and serve as good as I can and be aggressive.”

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