WTA US Open: Donna Vekic battles past Julia Goerges. Elise Mertens advances

Tennis - The Croat saved a match point in the tenth game of the second set for the place in the first Grand Slam quarter-final

by Jovica Ilic
WTA US Open: Donna Vekic battles past Julia Goerges. Elise Mertens advances

The 23rd seed Donna Vekic is through to the first Grand Slam quarter-final after a hard-fought 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Julia Goerges, saving a match point at 4-5 in set number two en route to a complete comeback! It was a high-quality clash from start to finish, with only six breaks in almost three-hour marathon and positive winners-unforced errors ratio for both players.

As was expected, Julia had the upper hand with 57 winners and 50 unforced errors, with Vekic counting to 22 winners and errors to follow the rival's pace and suffer only two breaks of serve. That was almost enough for Goerges to cross the finish line first, falling on that last step and sending Donna through with a single break in the deciding set.

Julia gained the lead with a backhand down the line winner in game two, delivering three commanding holds to open a 4-1 lead before Donna pulled the break back in game seven after a loose forehand from the German. They served well in the remaining games to set up a tie break where Goerges moved 6-5 up with an incredible forehand down the line winner, closing the set in the next point with another one after 54 minutes.

Carried by this momentum, Julia broke at the beginning of the second set and controlled the pace in her games to open a 5-3 advantage, drawing closer to the finish line and a rock-solid victory. Vekic had some other plans though, saving a match point in the tenth game when Goerges netted a forehand, pulling the break back when the German sent a volley long and earning another one at 6-5 to steal the set and gain a massive boost ahead of the decider.

Julia lost the ground a little bit in those moments, which was totally expected after being so close to the finish line, fending off break points in games two and six to stay in contention before Donna grabbed the crucial break at 4-3 thanks to a costly double fault from her opponent, serving for the win in the next game.

More drama awaited just around the corner, with Julia creating two break points in the next game, denied by Vekic who moved over the top when Goerges landed a smash long, celebrating the most significant result in career and coming on the verge of the place in the top-20.

The 25th seed Elise Mertens has been one of the players to beat at this year's US Open, toppling all four rivals in straight sets and dropping just 16 games in eight sets for the place in the second Grand Slam quarter-final, the first in New York.

The Belgian had spent less than three and a half hours on the court in the first three encounters and was the dominant figure against Kristie Ahn as well in a 6-1, 6-1 win in 67 minutes! Elise lost just 12 points on serve and fended off all three break chances to keep service games intact and challenge the opponent to match those numbers if she wanted to stand any chance for a positive result.

Mertens' 17 winners and 15 unforced errors proved to be too tough to handle for the American who lost 60% of the points in her games, never finding the desired rhythm and getting broken five times to propel Elise through in no time at all.

Donna Vekic Julia Goerges Elise Mertens