Vekic tames Sun at damp Wimbledon to seal semifinal spot

Sun's hopes of becoming the first female qualifier in 25 years to make the Wimbledon semifinals ended with the three-set defeat

By Reuters

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Croatia's Donna Vekic (right) hugs New Zealand's Lulu Sun at the end of their quarterfinal match. — AFP
Croatia's Donna Vekic (right) hugs New Zealand's Lulu Sun at the end of their quarterfinal match. — AFP

Published: Tue 9 Jul 2024, 6:41 PM

Lula Sun's extraordinary Wimbledon journey ground to a halt in the quarterfinals as New Zealand's 123rd-ranked qualifier was beaten 5-7 6-4 6-1 by experienced Croatian Donna Vekic on a soggy Tuesday at the grasscourt Grand Slam.

Victory meant Vekic reached her maiden Grand Slam semifinal and became only the second woman from her nation to do so at the All England Club, as she matched Mirjana Lucic's 1999 feat, but it was not all smooth sailing for the unseeded 28-year-old.


Sun saved three breakpoints under the Court One roof and broke for a crucial 6-5 advantage before digging herself out of a hole again to seize the opening set on serve with the most delicate of drop shots.

The Te Anau-born left-hander surrendered her serve in the eighth game of the next set before Vekic made a flurry of double faults while serving for the set, only to regain her composure and draw level in the match with another break.


The match turned on its head when Vekic broke in the third set following a double fault from Sun's racket, and the former Australian Open and U.S. Open quarterfinalist quickly pulled away for a 5-0 lead.

She duly settled the contest on serve to dash Sun's hopes of becoming the first female qualifier to make the Wimbledon semifinals since American Alexandra Stevenson 25 years ago.

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