SAN JOSE, CA, USA – No.5 seed Donna Vekic has reserved a place in the last eight of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Victoria Azarenka.
The # 5 seed collected deficits in both sets to avoid the former World No. 1 winner of the previous iteration of the 2010 Standford event, which led 4-1 in the opening set and 2-0 in the second set,
"She started playing amazing and I was a little slow and I gave up almost every ball. I was able to get into the game, thank God, just in time and I'm happy with how I played today," Vekic said after the match.
"I just tried to stay in the rallies and stomp to make it a little more physical, to try to get into the match, to get into some rhythm.
"I started playing better. I felt better. I tried to go a little more for my shots, hit a little deeper and that was the key after all."
Vekic won five straight games to complete the first set, as Azarenka became more unstable on service and off the pitch: Belarus hit five of its seven double errors for the opener match, including a set point.
In the second set, Azarenka broke into the opening game, but Vekic won three straight games to turn the set on his head.
The 23-year-old saved a break point in a key seventh game to maintain his lead, and ultimately won the last three games of the match to seal victory in the first ever meeting between the two.
Vekic reported 14 winners to 16 unexpected errors in the match, while Azarenka collected 26 undisclosed to just 13 winners, along with seven double errors.
Citi Open runner-up in Washington, D.C. last year, Vekic chose to play at the premier level in San Jose for the first time in his career, instead of this week, and moves up to his sixth quarterfinals of the season.
"It's always been a little difficult for me. I play in California – the balls fly a little more," Vekic said.
"I'm trying to adapt to the conditions here and play better and so, hopefully, I can stay here all week."
She will then face American qualifier Christie Ann, who became the lone seedless player to reach the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 3 seed Eliza Mertens.