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Donna Vekic Overcomes ‘Tough Moment’ To Reach First Slam Semis At Wimbledon

Donna Vekic said the lesson was to “never give up” after overcoming dark times to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon on Tuesday. The Croatian won 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 to end the fairytale run of New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun and will face Italian seventh seed Jasmine Paolini or US 19th seed Emma Navarro for a place in Saturday’s final. Vekic, 28, had knee surgery at the start of 2021, and suffered further setbacks into the follow season, which she described as “very tough”. Even this year, before the French Open, she was tempted to take a break from the tour. “I didn’t have any energy, any motivation to keep practising, keep pushing because I felt like the last couple of months I’ve given everything for tennis, and I wasn’t getting the results that I kind of expected,” she said.

“It was a very, very tough moment, but they were all there for me. That loss in Paris (third round to Olga Danilovic) was so, so painful. But it motivated me again to keep working, to keep pushing. 

“It’s crazy how in tennis things can turn so fast.”

Vekic was asked at her post-match press conference how she would describe her recent story.

“I guess to never give up,” she said. “It’s not easy at times. Yeah, I had to really dig deep inside and push myself.”

The Croatian was on the back foot in her quarter-final on Tuesday after 123rd-ranked Sun took the first set but she levelled after brushing off a horror game in which she doubled-faulted five times.

From then on it was one-way traffic as Vekic made it 16 points in a row, racing into a 5-0 lead and wrapping up the match in a little over two hours.

Sun, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw at the All England Club, was aiming to become just the second woman from New Zealand to reach a Grand Slam semi-final.

The 23-year-old, who will now shoot up the rankings, said her Wimbledon run had been an unforgettable experience.

“Even on the first day against Zheng Qinwen, I thought that court was huge and the people were loud. So I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is such an amazing experience to play on such a big court on your first day’. 

“But then I played on Centre. It was against Emma (Raducanu). I don’t think I could forget that. Definitely not. So I’ve had really great matches here at Wimbledon. 

“I think just energy from New Zealand fans and other fans, as well, is such a surreal moment for me that I definitely won’t forget.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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