Guernsey Press

Donna Vekic eclipses Lulu Sun to reach first Wimbledon semi-final

Qualifier Sun went down in three sets as her surprise run in SW19 came to an end.

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Donna Vekic ended the fairy tale Wimbledon run of qualifier Lulu Sun to reach her first grand slam semi-final.

SW19 sensation Sun won the first set and looked on course to become only the second woman to come through qualifying and reach the last four.

But Vekic, the 28-year-old from Croatia, took a tight second set and then ran away with the third for a 5-7 6-4 6-1 victory.

“It was a really tough match, she played unbelievable, I feel like she really pushed me to my limits,” said an emotional Vekic.

“I felt like I was dying out there in the first two sets but I just kept going, hoping to have a chance and it came in the end.

“I have a full box of people there and I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Sun has nonetheless lit up this year’s Championship with her fearless tennis as well as her apt surname, given that is frustratingly what has been missing from this rain-sodden tournament.

With the roof closed on Court One yet again, the 23-year-old New Zealander found herself under early pressure but saved three break points in a marathon, 10-deuce fourth game.

Having survived that, Sun began to attack the Vekic serve and it told when she broke for 6-5 before a gutsy hold clinched the set.

Sun looked by far the more composed player but Vekic gathered herself in the second set and secured a break in the eighth game.

But the nerves were still showing, and three double faults at deuce gave Sun three break points.

Lulu Sun holds out her hands in frustration
Lulu Sun’s run came to an end (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

However, when a set point arrived in the next game on the Sun serve the drop shot worked a treat and the match was level.

Sun was playing her eighth match of the fortnight, and it showed at the start of the third set as Vekic won 12 straight points.

In the blink of an eye it was 5-0 and, despite gamely getting on the board, Sun finally went down at Wimbledon in two hours and eight minutes.

Sun is the first woman from New Zealand to reach the quarter-finals and her run, including the fourth-round with over Raducanu, has gripped the nation with her matches broadcast live after midnight in her homeland.

Reflecting on her Wimbledon experience, she said: “I mean, even on the first day against Zheng Qinwen, I thought the court was huge and the people were loud.

“I was just, like, super happy to be able to get that experience and play against such a big player, such a great player.

“But then I played on Centre, against Emma. I don’t think I could forget that. Definitely not. So I’ve had really great matches here at Wimbledon.

“I think just energy from New Zealand fans and other fans, as well, is such a surreal moment for me that I definitely won’t forget.”

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