Describing it as one of her best wins in a career, the 22-year-old Donna Vekic has reached the semi-final in Brisbane following a commanding 6-2, 6-0 triumph over the last year's finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich in 56 minutes. Donna won their previous two matches in 2015 and 2016 and she was the dominant figure on the court today as well, advancing into her second Premier semi-final after Tokyo last year and securing the place in the top-30 for the first time! Both players served just above 50% but it was Donna who drew the most from her initial shot, losing just 14 points in seven service games and never facing a break point.
On the other hand, she won more than 60% of the points in Sasnovich's games, taking the ball early and keeping her rival under the pressure all the time, also converting all five break points to seal the deal and march into the last four.
The Croat grabbed a break in the opening game of the match with a forehand winner and she blasted a service winner in game two to cement the lead and settle into a nice rhythm. Sasnovich sprayed a backhand error to get broken again in the third game and she finally found the rhythm after that to avoid an even bigger disaster.
On the other hand, she couldn't do much on Vekic's serve, allowing her rival to close the opener with a service winner at 5-2 after just 30 minutes. Donna was the only player on the court in set number two, winning 25 out of 34 points and breaking Aliaksandra three times to finish the encounter with a bagel.
An amazing short backhand cross court winner earned a break for Donna in the opening game and she fired two winners for a hold in game two after a deuce to get closer to the finish line. The Belarusian netted a forehand to give her serve away once again in game three and Vekic broke her at love in game five following a backhand return winner that put her a game away from victory.
She was there after a forehand winner in the next game, taking the set 6-0 and wrapping up the match with 16 winners and just five unforced errors that propelled her into the last four where she will face the 2017 Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova.
The 5th seed needed an hour and 23 minutes to dismiss the home favorite Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1,1-6, 6-1, dominating in sets she won to grab the semi-final berth. Facing each other for the first time since Stanford 2015, Pliskova made the difference with her initial shot, blasting 14 aces and winning 76% of the points behind her first serve to suffer two breaks in set number two, keeping the scoreboard under control in the rest of the match.
Tomljanovic lost 46% of the points in her games, facing 10 break points and losing serve twice in sets one and three to hit the exit door, unable to continue where she left in set number two when she did everything right against world no.
8. Pliskova had 27 winners and 16 unforced errors while Tomljanovic counted to 19 direct points but also 29 errors, too many to challenge Karolina in a more serious way. The Czech grabbed the first break already in game two after a double fault from Ajla and she fends off two break points in game five to stay ahead.
She secured another break in the game that followed and closed the opener with a hold at love in game seven, moving 6-1 up after a service winner. Out of sudden, Tomljanovic raced into a 5-0 lead in set number two, controlling the pace on both the serve and return and saving a break point in game seven before clinching the set with a great forehand cross court winner that gave her a huge boost before the start of the decider.
Pliskova bounced back instantly, though, winning the opening 14 points in set number three to forge a 4-0 lead after a forehand drive volley winner, crossing the finish line with a nice hold in the seventh game to cement her place in the last four and stay on the title course. Quarter-final results:
Donna Vekic (CRO) vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-2 6-0
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) vs Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-1 1-6 6-1