In 2012, Donna Vekic reached her first WTA level singles final at the Tashkent Open while only 15 years old. Unfortunately, she would lose to Irina-Camelia Begu. Keep in mind though, it was a great learning experience for a 15 year old player. In 2013, a 16 year old Donna Vekic earned a second chance at her first WTA level title by reaching the final of the Aegon Classic. She would again fall in a tight match against Daniela Hantuchova. In 2014, the third time was the charm! Donna defeated Dominika Cibulkova, arguably the second or third best player so far this year, at the BMW Malaysian Open, 5-7 7-5 7-6 (4). With the win over the top seeded Cibulkova, the 7th seeded Vekic earned her first WTA title, her first win over a top 10 player and became the youngest winner on tour since 17-year old Vania King won in Bangkok in 2006. That’s an interesting comparison for this reason; just because a player wins at a young age, it doesn’t mean she’ll keep winning. Vania, now 25 years old, is a good player, but has yet to be ranked higher than 50 in her singles career. Her best success, Major success at that, has been in doubles. The difference is that at 25 years old, Vania has only made 2 WTA finals, winning 1. Vekic has already reached 3 finals by the age of 17. My only point here is to be cautiously optimistic when projecting future accomplishments for young players. I hope Donna goes on to greater success.
The semifinals of the Fed Cup World Group concluded with the Czech Republic and Germany advancing to November’s Fed Cup final. The Czech Republic, Fed Cup champions in 2011 and 2012, will be seeking their 3rd Fed Cup title in 4 years. They quickly dispatched Italy as Petra Kvitova defeated both Camila Giorgi and Roberta Vinci while Lucie Safarova was victorious over Sara Errani. They didn’t have to play a fourth singles match or the doubles, but they played out the doubles anyway. It didn’t really matter but the Czech team took that as well for a 4-0 sweep. Germany also won the first 3 singles matches against Australia to make the 4th unnecessary. Angelique Kerber beat both Samantha Stosur and Casey Dellacqua. Andrea Petkovic added another victory over Stosur. Australia did win a meaningless doubles match to make the final score 3-1 Germany. The Czech Republic might be the favorite in the final based on recent results. The Germans haven’t won Fed Cup since 1992 and the days of Steffi Graf. There are no Graf level players on this German team but it is a strong team with Kerber, Petkovic and Julia Goerges. That doesn’t even include the injured Sabine Lisicki, who should be ready by November. On paper, the German team is stronger. I just don’t know if it’s enough to counter the championship experience of the Czech squad.
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7 DONNA VEKIC (won 5-7 7-5 7-6 (4) vs 1 Dominika Cibulkova)
CZECH REPUBLIC (defeated Italy 4-0)
GERMANY (defeated Australia 3-1)