Former phenoms Bencic, Vekic fight back after the fall
Belinda Bencic celebrates her win over Naomi Osaka (AFP)
New York - Swiss 13th seed Bencic, 22, was nagged by numerous injuries including wrist surgery from 2016 to 2018
Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic, each a former teen tennis prodigy whose career plunged, have battled back into a US Open quarterfinal matchup with eyes on loftier prizes.
Croatian 23rd seed Vekic, 23, saved a match point and beat Germany's Julia Goerges 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-3, to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
"This is really such an amazing achievement for me," Vekic said. "It's amazing.
"If this happened to me when I was 18, I would be like, 'Oh, my God, this is unreal,' but right now I'm really happy but I'm not done.
"I don't want to be done. I feel like there is still a lot to be done here, and I really want to keep going and try to win a few more matches."
Swiss 13th seed Bencic, 22, was nagged by numerous injuries including wrist surgery from 2016 to 2018, but reached her first Slam quarterfinal since the 2014 US Open by eliminating top-ranked defending champion Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-4.
"I think it will be great that one of us will be in semifinal," Bencic said of playing pal Vekic. "It means a lot, because she was also very good with 16, 17 won her first WTA title. Then it was the pressure and some injuries, some difficult times.
"Now we're both back. It feels very nice. I'm very happy for her. But definitely I want to win."
Bencic was a world junior number one at age 16 and reached the US Open last eight at age 17 in 2014, the youngest quarterfinalist since Martina Hingis in 1997.
Now Bencic is coached by Hingis and the retired star's mother, Melanie Molitor.