Photo credit: @JJlovesTennis
By Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Donna Vekic has been enjoying her first time in the Silicon Valley. After taking a trip to up to the Facebook headquarters earlier in the day, she finished out her day in style with an upset second round victory over former number one women’s player Victoria Azarenka in straight sets 6-4 6-3 highlighting Day 4 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on Thursday evening at San Jose State University.
The fifth-seeded Vekic fought her way out of a 0-2 hole twice to win in commanding fashion with her dominant serve and powerful two-hand backhanded swing that put Azarenka on the ropes late in the match. Down 4-1 in the first set, Vekic went on a five-game win streak to take the first set.
Azarenka, ranked 38th in the world, was frustrated throughout the match thanks to seven double faults. She threw down and broke her racket at the end of the first set after an unforced error.
“I’ve never played her (before). Actually, this was our first match,” said the 23-year old from Croatia. “I knew she was a great player, great competitor. I knew I had to bring my best game if I wanted to have a chance to win.”
In the second set, Vekic finished off Azarenka by winning the last three games and finished the match with six aces and winning five of the eight break points to head into the quarterfinals.
Vekic credits her ability to move around the court quicker as her game has evolved since she turned professional seven years ago at the age of 16.
“I don’t think I moved at all when I was 16”, Vekic said with a laugh. “I have a lot more patience now. I’m not afraid to stay in the rallies. In fact I like to be in the rallies and to build up the point.”
In earlier action Amanda Amisinova defeated Madison Brengle in straight sets 6-2 6-2 in a battle of Americans. China’s Saisai Zheng took down American Danielle Collins also in staight sets 6-2 6-0 and American Kristie Ahn was a winner against Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3 6-3 rounding out single’s play.
En-Shuo Liang and Zheng teamed up to beat Ellen Perez and Heather Watson in three sets 7-6 6-0 10-8 in the only doubles action of the day.