Donna Vekic thrilled with unexpected title at the Aegon Open Nottingham

Donna Vekic entered the Press Room with a beaming smile on her face holding the Elena Baltacha Trophy following her comeback victory over Johanna Konta in Nottingham.

This victory at the Aegon Open was the 20 year old’s second WTA title of her career and she was made to work hard for it, eventually coming through 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 in two hours and 29 minutes.

Describing that winning feeling and her performance, the Croat said: “It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since winning my last title and it kept me going because this feeling is amazing, there is no way to describe it. It keeps me motivated to work even harder.”

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WTA Nottingham: Donna Vekic bounces back to win the Aegon Open with victory over Johanna Konta

Donna Vekic celebrated winning her first WTA grass court title and the second of her career overall after she came back from a set down to stun top seed and British hope Johanna Konta 2-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 at the Aegon Open in Nottingham.

The 20-year-old was closer to the Brit than the scoreline suggests in the first set and managed to turn game points into conversions in the second which helped her get over the disappointment of missing out on three set points during the set to take it on a tiebreak. Vekic broke immediately in the final set but the world number eight came back midway through to make it anybody’s title to win at five games all. It was at that point which the Croat raised her level to new heights which Konta was unable to reach and as a result she sealed victory and lifted the Elena Baltacha Trophy for the first time.

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Nottingham Challenger: Dudi Sela defeats Thomas Fabbiano to capture 22nd career title at the Aegon Open

Dudi Sela captured the 22nd title of his career rallying from a set down to defeat Thomas Fabbiano in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win the ATP Challenger title at the Aegon Open.

After a close first set with few chances to break Fabbiano capitalised in the ninth game and served it out to move a step closer to a sixth career title. The fourth seed also had break points in the sixth game but Sela came back using all his experience to force a deciding set and swiftly established a 4-1 lead in the third. Fabbiano pulled two games back but the Israeli held his nerve and broke to love in the last game to seal the crown in Nottingham.

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EXCLUSIVE: Dudi Sela targets significant ranking rise in the remainder of the season

Dudi Sela is pleased in his upturn in form and hopes to recapture the ATP Challenger crown at the Aegon Open in Nottingham on Sunday.

Sela advanced to the final following second seed Marius Copil’s retirement in their semifinal match where the Israeli was leading 7-6(4), 1-0. In assessment of his short match, Sela said: “I think I played well in the match, I was solid. I was a break up two times and played two bad games on my serve so hopefully I can be better in the final.”

It was a right shoulder injury which forced Copil from Romania to call time on their semifinal and Sela told me that he was aware that his opponent was struggling. “I think it was in the last game of the first set and I definitely noticed it in the first game of the second”, the third seed said. “At 6-5 I had a couple of set points and I felt that he was not 100%. At the end he just told me my shoulder is really painful and I don’t want to risk it for the tournaments coming up in the next few weeks”, he added.

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EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Fabbiano targetting top 50 following run to the Aegon Open final

Thomas Fabbiano is enjoying a great season on the ATP Challenger circuit and has already picked up three titles this year. On Sunday he will go for a sixth career title and a first on grass at the Aegon Open in Nottingham.

In his semifinal match the fourth seed took down qualifier Sam Groth in straight sets 6-4, 6-3 and was pleased with his performance. The Italian said: “It was a good match, I was expecting it to be tougher but I managed to break him in the first game of each set and that was the key.

I felt some tension in the middle games of the second set, but with the long rallies I managed to hang on and not lose my serve and continue with my game. I didn’t have many bad moments, I saved two break points, which was important for me in helping to win the second set.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Donna Vekic reflects on biggest win of her season to date at the Aegon Open

Donna Vekic was elated and understandably exhausted after I spoke to her following her marathon two hours and 48 minutes win over Lucie Safarova 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-6(4) at the Aegon Open in Nottingham.

When asked for her initial thoughts the 20-year-old simply said: “I feel tired, but I feel very happy though!”

In the heat of battle in the final set there was a controversial moment in the sixth game where the Croat had the chance to break her opponent’s serve. Safarova’s forehand appeared to go long and the ball was originally called out, but then corrected and overruled by the umpire. Vekic was distraught with the decision but with no hawk-eye there was nothing that she could do as Safarova held to level at three games all.

Upon reflection Vekic was still very unhappy with the umpire. She said: “When something like that happens it’s very frustrating, especially as it wasn’t even closely in. This umpire made a lot of mistakes, it wasn’t her first mistake so this I mean can change a whole match. I had to just get on with it and try to play the next point and next games.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Johanna Konta confident ahead of Aegon Open final

Johanna Konta will seek to become just the second British woman to win a WTA grass court event in the UK on Sunday when she faces Donna Vekic at the Aegon Open in Nottingham.

Virginia Wade was the only other player to do so back in 1975 in Eastbourne, but the world number eight is enjoying her tennis and is confident that she can join her as part of British Tennis history.

Konta defeated Magdalena Rybarikova in the semifinals in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 and felt as though she handled the task of taking on an in-form player very well. “She’s a very effective player on the grass and has come into this tournament with an 100K win on the grass, (in Surbiton) so she was full of confidence”, said the British number one. “She definitely played like that as well so I was happy that I was able to adjust and get stuck into match as much as I could and I felt I competed well”, she added.

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