Australian Open: Vekic ends teen Fruhvirtova’s run, meets Sabalenka in quarters “to take revenge” for Bencic

The Croat defeated Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the last eight in Melbourne for the first time in 11 attempts

Donna Vekic at the 2023 Australian Open Donna Vekic at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic
Australian Open •Round of 16 • completed
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Croat Donna Vekic moved into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open by ending the run of Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova at Melbourne Park on Monday.

Vekic, who is now working with American Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, won 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours and seven minutes to reach her Australian Open quarter-final in 11 attempts.

This is her second time in the last eight at a Major (in 37 main draw appearances) with the first coming at the 2019 US Open, also on hardcourts.

“It’s my 11th Australian Open, not counting the juniors. I’ve been around for a while”, Vekic said in her post-match press conference. “But I think that gives me a lot of experience, but like you said, I’m still only 26. I don’t feel 26 when I wake up in the morning and take my first couple of steps (smiling). I really do enjoy it more and more, especially when I’m winning, playing good. At the end of the day, how can you not enjoy when you play on these courts, when you play on — Margaret Court is one of my favorite courts, for sure. When you have people supporting you, you cannot beat this feeling.”

The Croat beat Russian qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva (6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7)), Russian Liudmila Samsonova, the No 18 seed (6-3, 6-0) and Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz (6-2, 6-2) earlier in the tournament.

“I will try to take revenge for Belinda” – Vekic looks ahead to Sabalenka clash

Vekic, ranked No 64, will play Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, the No 5 seed, for a place in her first Major semi-final.

“Actually I’ve been watching a lot of tennis. Somehow I didn’t manage to catch her playing. I’ve read, of course, on Twitter that she’s playing maybe the best tennis on the women’s side this Australian Open. I have a great head-to-head with her. All of our matches have been really tough, so I’m sure next one will be, as well. I’m just going to take it one match at a time, just really focus on that match. First not think that it’s quarterfinals because it’s a big match for us both. I’m sure she’ll be feeling it as well. I will try to take revenge for Belinda (smiling)” (note – Vekic and Bencic are close friends)

Fruhvirtova, the youngest player in the top 100 at aged 17, playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw, had won against Australian wildcard Jaimee Fourlis (6-0, 6-4), Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell (6-3, 6-2) and Marketa Vondrousova (7-5, 2-6, 6-3) previously.

Australian Open women’s quarter-final line-up

  • [22] Elena Rybakina vs. [17] Jelena Ostapenko
  • [3] Jessica Pegula vs. [24] Victoria Azarenka
  • [30] Karolina Pliskova vs. Magda Linette
  • [5] Aryna Sabalenka vs. Donna Vekic

Australian Open (Grand Slam), fourth round results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24,297,942, most recent results first):

  • Karolina Pliskova (30) beat Shuai Zhang (23): 6-0, 6-4
  • Magda Linette beat Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-4
  • Aryna Sabalenka beat Belinda Bencic (12): 7-5, 6-2
  • Victoria Azarenka (24) beat Lin Zhu: 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
  • Jessica Pegula (3) beat Barbora Krejcikova (20): 7-5, 6-2
  • Jelena Ostapenko (17) beat Coco Gauff (7): 7-5, 6-3
  • Elena Rybakina (22) beat Iga Swiatek (1): 6-4, 6-4

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