Garcia, Vekic and Brady complete Nature Valley Open semi-final set in Nottingham

Top seeds Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic have reached the last four of Nottingham’s Nature Valley Open – an LTA summer grass court event – where they will join American Jennifer Brady and Tatjana Maria of Germany on semi-final Saturday at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 14: Donna Vekic of Croatia makes her way to the court as she plays Kristina Mladenovic of France (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA)

Former World No. 4 Garcia, who is seeded first, came from a set down to defeat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 4-6 7-6(3) 6-1 indoors. Garcia, 25, saved three break points at 5-5 in the second set to swing the match back in her favour.

The Frenchwoman is now set to face World No. 80 Brady second on Centre Court on Saturday.

“The first set was very tight with only one break,” she said. “I couldn’t find my rhythm on my serve and she did very well. In the second set, it was difficult but I kept fighting very hard. I was very aggressive and going for my shots, so I was very pleased with the way I improved in the second set and in the third one. I’m happy with the way I fight and keep believing in myself.”

Earlier in the day, Brady upset fourth seed Maria Sakkari, while 2017 Nottingham champion Vekic beat Roland Garros doubles title-holder Kristina Mladenovic 7-5 6-4 in a match that began on Centre Court but finished indoors after rain disrupted play.

Vekic, who lost to British No. 1 Johanna Konta at the semi-final stage in Nottingham last year, said: “It was a bit of a crazy match. She was playing completely different tennis when we went indoors, she was really going for her shots so there was a lot of things going on today. But I’m just happy I won.

“I really love the crowd. I was out there for only one set but they were really supporting me, I was really happy to see that, and they’re actually the reason I came back. I played well in Paris this year, and we were discussing whether to come here or not, but I always feel good and get really good support here so that’s kind of the reason I came back – it was definitely worth it.”

The 22-year-old World No. 22 is scheduled to open proceedings with ninth seed Sakkari on the main stage from noon.

“She’s a tricky player, especially on grass,” the Croat added. “I saw a little bit of her match against Ajla [Tomljanovic]. She was slicing everything, so it’s definitely going to be different to all my matches so far this week. I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a good challenge – hopefully on grass!”

Elsewhere, British No. 3 and top seed of the concurrent ATP Challenger event Dan Evans (Birmingham) reached the quarter-final, where he will meet unseeded German Dominik Koepfer first on Court 1, before a potential last-four clash against either Lukas Rosol or Go Soeda. Qualifier Ryan Peniston (Southend) lost in straight sets to Frenchman Antoine Hoang 7-6(3) 6-2.

Saturday’s matches are due to start at midday across four outdoor courts with the WTA International semi-finals scheduled alongside a bumper ATP Challenger order of play, as quarter-final winners are due to play their semi-finals after suitable rest, given the disruption caused by the weather this week.

Limited tickets remain on Centre Court with prices starting from £36 for children under 16 and £45 for adults. To purchase tickets or to access more information about the Nature Valley Open, head to www.lta.org.uk/naturevalleyopen
 
Follow @lta on Instagram, @LTA – Tennis for Britain on Facebook or @the_LTA on Twitter to keep up to date with the players’ journeys on the grass courts of Nottingham this summer.

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