Despite challenging conditions, the top two seeds have kept their composure and, as a result, Caroline Garcia will face Donna Vekic for the Nottingham Open title. But who will prevail?
WTA Nottingham Open Final Prediction
Caroline Garcia vs Donna Vekic
Head-to-head: Garcia 3-3 Vekic
Donna Vekic has looked vulnerable at times this week when put under pressure. It happened to the Croatian in the first round against the Slovakian Dalila Jakupovic as Vekic lost a second-set tiebreak in a 6-2 6-7 6-0 win. Vekic then lost a hard-fought first set in the semifinals against Germany’s Tatjana Maria before finishing strongly to claim a 5-7 6-0 6-0 win. The world #22 now has a 25-10 record for the season and will surely have high hopes for a good run at Wimbledon. A first Grand Slam quarterfinal doesn’t look out of the question for Vekic.
Despite putting together a blistering end of the season run in 2017, Garcia’s form has been patchy over the past two seasons. Now ranked 28th in the world she finds herself in her second final of the season. She’ll be hoping that the outcome is different from her last final in Strasbourg, when she lost narrowly to Dayana Yastremska in a third-set tiebreak. Nor does she have the best of records on grass. That said, in 2016 and 2017 she put together a 12-3 record, reaching the final in Mallorca in 2016.
The pair have met six times and neither has managed to carve out an advantage in the head-to-head, which is tied at three wins apiece. It is hard to separate them even by surface – with both owning two victories apiece on hard-court and one on clay. Vekic won the latest battle on a hard court in Tokyo 2018, which was the only match in their rivalry which did not go the distance. Therefore, it seems unlikely that this match will be decided inside two sets. That could work in Garcia’s favour, with Vekic, as mentioned above, having struggled somewhat in the crucial moments this week.
Both players will benefit from having been embroiled in a three-set semifinal struggle on the Nottingham grass. Jennifer Brady really pushed Garcia hard in the last four, troubling the Frenchwoman with her big forehand in what was the top seeds first match on the grass this season. But with both now well-prepared despite this week’s inclement weather, it should be a closely fought and entertaining contest. In the past there has been little to separate the pair, but it is Vekic who has tasted success in Nottingham before and that should just give her the edge.
Prediction: Vekic in three
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