If weather permits Saturday’s semifinals in Nottingham to take place on their intended surface, the encounter between Vekic and Maria will illustrate two distinct styles of play that have shown to be effective on grass.
Vekic plays to her strength of flattening out shots to keep the ball low and sending returns to the deeper part of the box. Her forehand has proven to be a reliable weapon when she needs it on this surface. On the contrary, Maria incorporates an old-school style. The German unsettles her opponents with extreme use of slicing, including on the forehand, and works to change the depth and height of these cuts to create angles for herself.
Both players relish this time of year, with each lifting WTA singles trophies on grass courts (Vekic at this event in 2017 and Maria in Mallorca a year ago). With an added boost of confidence thanks to a career-high ranking of No. 22 this week, watch for Vekic to advance in two tight sets—a contest that should be more competitive than the Croatian's 6-4, 6-2 victory at Hobart in 2018.