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Donna Vekic reaches first Grand Slam semifinal in comeback win over Lulu Sun at Wimbledon


Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Donna Vekic persevered to win the biggest match of her career.

The 28-year-old Croatian, slowed in recent years by injuries, reached her first Grand Slam semifinal in her 43rd appearance at a major tournament by beating qualifier Lulu Sun 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 at Wimbledon.

“I felt like I was dying out there, the first two sets. But I just kept going, hoping to have a chance and it came in the end,” Vekic said in an on-court interview.

Vekic becomes the second woman representing Croatia to reach the last four at the All England Club, after Mirjana Lucic in 1999.

The 23-year-old Sun, who played college tennis at the University of Texas, was making her debut at the grass-court tournament and is the first player from New Zealand to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals in the Open era.

“It was a really tough match, she played unbelievable,” said Vekic, who had knee surgery in 2021. “She really pushed me to my limits.”

She will next play either No. 7 Jasmine Paolini or No. 19 Emma Navarro.

Serving for the second set at 5-3, Vekic committed five double-faults to help Sun break, but Vekic broke right back to force a deciding set, which the veteran player dominated.

On Centre Court, No. 1 Jannik Sinner was playing No. 5 Daniil Medvedev in a rematch of the Australian Open final, which Sinner won in five sets for his first Grand Slam title.