Donna Vekic nearly quit tennis amid doubts over her fitness after undergoing knee surgery two years ago, but the Croatian has made a remarkable comeback and captured her first title since 2021 by winning in Monterrey on Sunday.
Vekic went under the knife after the 2021 Australian Open and had stated at the Melbourne Park major in January that she was in a constant fight to regain her old level after being out for months at a time with knee issues.
She obtained her fourth career title and first since Courmayeur in 2021 after beating top seed Caroline Garcia 6-4 3-6 7-5 in the final in Mexico.
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“It’s been a great start to the year for me,” Vekic said.
The Australian Open quarterfinalist said she was sure that she would return to the winners circle at some point this year after reaching the San Diego final in October.
Having beaten several top seeds in that tournament, she lost to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the final.
“If the title didn’t come now, I believe it would have come soon. I’ve been playing good tennis and I need to keep working hard and hopefully stay healthy,” the 26-year-old Vekic said.
“I’m sure I’ll keep having good results.”
Victory over world No. 5 Garcia marked the first time Vekic had beaten a top-10 player this year, and she rose eight places to No. 23 in the world rankings.
“It was a crazy match until the end, (Garcia) was playing so well, playing so deep,” Vekic said. “I was trying to win as many points as I could. It wasn’t easy, but I’m really happy to win.”
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