French Open 2019: Vekic routs Bencic in straight sets to enter fourth round
Donna Vekic was on a mission to make the fourth round and quickly made it a reality at the French Open 2019 on Friday. Gaining a serious edge over Belinda Bencic was her key to victory as the Croatian forced the world number 15 into trouble on both wings to come out of Court One with a 6-4, 6-1 score.
The two met for the third time in their careers and this was their first meeting in a Grand Slam. Neither player had made it further than the third round of the tournament and were looking to have the chance of surpassing their best ever finish at the French Open. The Croatian had gone the distance with Rebecca Peterson in the second round but didn’t struggle in the last two sets, putting together a serious comeback.
Bencic needed two days to overcome Laura Siegemund where she finished the last two games quickly to advance. With Bencic leading the series and it being their first match on clay, the Swiss star knew that she would have to tighten up the strings and keep Vekic at bay.
The Croatian opened the match the way she wanted, getting ahead of Bencic who committed back-to-back double faults. It opened the door wide for Vekic to take off and create a 3-0 run with a double break in hand.
Bencic found a way to come back, scoring three straight with enough to hold off the 23rd seed for the break back. Consolidating it with a service hold in the fifth got the Swiss star within reach of a tie but Vekic had other plans.
A key break in the eighth helped level Bencic with her opponent for the first time in the set as Vekic erased consecutive aces with two double faults, separated by an error. She redeemed herself by edging Bencic on serve for the break that put her back in front after the ninth. Vekic remained calm and collected against the Swiss powerhouse and shut her down comfortably with two set points in the tenth to close the first set in 38 minutes.
Despite having just 30 percent from the second serve, her first serves carried the workload that did major damage to Bencic’s overall offensive game. Edging the 15th seed on winners and having less unforced errors had her looking good to keep the heat on her going into the second.
Bencic opened with a strong serve to love on Vekic but couldn’t consolidate it with a break. After the 23rd seed secured her game, the fight was on for control which sent them to deuce. After two breaks, it was Vekic with the break in hand, going into her serve in the fourth.
The double break was secured by the Croatian soon enough against Bencic who was visibly frustrated by her inability to react faster to her opponent’s returns. After another solid service hold, all that was left for Vekic to do was gain one last break over the 15th seed and call it a day. The winners assisted in her quest for the break point which closed the match for her in one hour and seven minutes.
With her game firing at such a high rate, the 22-year-old will hope for more success when she faces the winner between Johanna Konta and Viktoria Kuzmova on Sunday.Published 31 May 2019, 22:46 IST