Croatia’s Donna Vekic came from a set down to win the Nottingham grasscourt event in a pulsating final against Britain’s Johanna Konta on Sunday to remind the tennis world why she was once considered one of the game’s hottest prospects.
As a teenager, Vekic won her first tour tournament three years ago but had not won one since, enduring some tough times before this 2-6 7-6(3) 7-5 major breakthrough win over the home favourite, world number eight Konta.
In a thrilling 2-1/2 hour contest in which momentum switched dramatically, the hard-hitting Vekic, who is still only 20, was left feeling very emotional after a second tight tussle in 24 hours following her dramatic semi-final win over Lucie Safarova.
At 16, Vekic was runner-up in another Wimbledon warm-up event in Birmingham, prompting former champion Chris Evert to predict a top-10 career for the Croat but she has never come remotely near to those heights.
After Vekic had let a 3-1 lead slip in the deciding set, Konta appeared to be surging towards the title as she moved into a 4-3 lead but the Croatian held her nerve to break for a 6-5 lead and then served out for victory.