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Vekic vs Yafan Wang WTA Acapulco Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Vekic seeks second final of the season

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 1 Mar 2019
  • Donna Vekic vs Yafan Wang is live from Acapulco on Friday, 1 March from 4:00pm local time/ 10:00pm GMT
  • Vekic and Wang meet for the first time
Donna Vekic. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Croatian third seed, Donna Vekic seeks her second final of the season when she takes on China's Yafan Wang in the semi-finals of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco on Friday.

It's all beginning to come together for Vekic, who had struggled earlier on in her career to match the promise she showed as a prodigious teenager. Vekic first broke into the top 100 as a 16-year-old in 2013, rising as high as 62nd in the world, and she claimed her maiden WTA title in the following season, beating Dominika Cibulkova in the Kuala Lumpur final. However, with expectations mounting, she went the other way, finishing out of the top 100 in 2015 and 2016, but just in the last couple of seasons, the Croatian has got back on track, and was up to 34th by the end of 2018- her highest ranking at the time.

She has continued to rise in 2019, opening with a semi-final in Brisbane, and advancing to a first Premier level final a couple of tournaments later in St. Petersburg, where she lost to Kiki Bertens. There have been a couple of poor results in the midst of all of that, as she lost to unheralded Australian, Kimberly Birrell in the second round of the Australian Open, and was beaten by Ons Jabeur in the opening round in Dubai, but a return of three semi-finals in five tournaments still represents a very impressive start to the season. Still only 22, she has got plenty of time to push a lot further in her career, and reach the heights her talents demand.

Vekic is making her debut in Acapulco this week, and she has progressed through the draw without dropping a set, beating Misaki Doi, Christina McHale and Johanna Konta to reach the last four. Vekic and Konta traded breaks in the opening two games of Thursday’s quarter final, but the Croatian struck again in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead, before serving out the set. She carried that momentum into the second set, breaking to love in the opening game, but Konta then found her best spell of the match, winning four of the next five games to take a 4-2 lead. However, Vekic produced the big finish in a set of momentum switches, claiming five of the last six games to record a fine 6-3 7-5 victory.

She will now attempt to reach her 8th tour-level final when she takes on China's Yafan Wang on Friday. 

Yafan Wang. (Photo by PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)
Wang is also having a her very good start to the season, with her quarter final victory over Brazilian, Beatriz Haddad Maia in Acapulco improving her 2019 record to 9-3. The 24-year-old is contesting her second semi-final of the year, after reaching the last four in the opening week of the season in Shenzhen (lost to Aryna Sabalenka).

Wang was beaten by Ashleigh Barty in the second round of the Australian Open, but she had another decent run in Hua Hin, making the quarter finals after taking out Anna Blinkova and Shuai Zhang (via retirement). She was stopped in the last eight by Poland's Magda Linette. The Chinese opened her Acapulco campaign with a 6-2 6-2 victory over Czech, Marie Bouzkova, and benefited from a second round retirement from Monica Puig, who quit while trailing 4-1 in the first set. She continued her impressive week with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Haddad Maia, who had taken out top seed, Sloane Stephens in the previous round.

Currently ranked 65th in the world, Wang first broke into the top 100 last April, after reaching the fourth round of the Miami Open. She made just one more WTA quarter final after that, in Bucharest, but she gathered enough points from lower-tier tournaments to maintain, and improve her top-100 position through the season, ending the year at 70th in the world. She has been as high as 60th this season, a mark she reached after the Australian Open, but she headed into Acapulco five spots off that position in 65th. However, she will break back into the top 60 by virtue of her performances this week, as she is projected to reach 58th in the world regardless of the outcome of Friday's semi-final against Vekic. 

Vekic is also set to gain a few spots on the rankings, and she will reach a new career-high of 24th if she beats Wang. Naturally, being the higher-ranked player, in fine form too, the Croatian heads into this one as the big favourite, and if she executes as well as she can, particularly on serve, the 22-year-old should move into another WTA final on Friday evening in Acapulco.

Donna Vekic vs Yafan Wang is live from Acapulco on Friday, 1 March from 4:00pm local time/ 10:00pm GMT

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Vekic vs Yafan Wang WTA Acapulco Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Vekic seeks second final of the season

Donna Vekic will attempt to reach her second final of 2019 when she takes on China's Yafan Wang in Acapulco on Friday.

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