By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta [8] def. Varvara Flink [Q]
  • Konta v Donna Vekic [3]
ACAPULCO, MEXICO – After dispatching qualifier Varvara Flink, Johanna Konta rekindles what is becoming an intriguing rivalry with Donna Vekic in the Acapulco quarter-final.

 

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Johanna Konta [8] def. Varvara Flink [Q] 6-4 6-1

It can be tricky to face a first-time opponent, especially one with the confidence that a couple of qualifying rounds can bring, but Johanna Konta started with a little more verve against Varvara Flink, with her now traditional fast start.

That is not to say that Flink did not have her own chances, breaking Konta back after losing her serve a second time, but it was not enough to stop Konta threatening to break once more for the set, before serving it out comfortably to love.

Once Konta had the momentum, she went off after the second set at a clip, breaking the Russian three times in succession to book her spot in the semi-final – her first since reaching the same stage in Moscow last year.

 

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Konta v Donna Vekic [3] | H2H: Konta leads 3-2

Donna Vekic in the quarter-final of the Nature Valley Open, WTA Nottingham 2018

Donna Vekic in the quarter-final of the Nature Valley Open, WTA Nottingham 2018 | (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for LTA)

This rivalry with Donna Vekic, now under the tutelage of Angelique Kerber’s former coach has become quite intriguing – from great drama in the Nottingham final and semi-final two years in a row to one of the more epic matches of Konta’s Wimbledon semi-final run, Konta currently has a slim upper hand in their head to head.

In fact the likelihood of another clash in Fed Cup was denied by a fired up Serbian side that put Croatia out of the running for the Promotion Play-off match. Vekic looked to be a force to be reckoned with at the start of the year, with the coach who spearheaded Kerber’s rise as a two-time Slam champion in 2016.

She started the year very brightly with a run to the Brisbane semi-final and the Saint Petersburg final, but Dubai saw a first round exit, but she has been very much in control in Acapulco.

Konta is rebuilding the confidence she lost over the past couple of years – that much was evident with her grit and determination at Fed Cup, not to mention easing past her doubles partner this week as well.

A difficult one to call with the expectation on Vekic with her seeding. Konta’s serving was on point in the second round, and often when her serve is firing, the rest of her game comes together. Vekic can also serve well, and maybe has just a little more dimension to her game, matching Konta in terms of aggression, but also can defend well, and adds to that good court smarts.

Konta’s confidence is key here. She gritted out four tough wins in Fed Cup, and that seems to be paying off. However this will be another one of those times where she will have to do the time to get the win.

Prediction: Konta in three sets.

Konta and Vekic are scheduled on Grand Stand Caliente not before 5:30pm (11:30pm GMT).

 

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