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Jasmine Paolini created history as she became the first Italian woman to reach the finals of Wimbledon when she overcame Donna Vekic in a 3-set thriller on July 11, Thursday. Paolini won the match 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 to book her spot in the final on July 13, Saturday. Paolini had a similar run when she reached the final of the French Open this year.

Paolini has now become the first woman after Serena Williams to reach the final of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year. The Italian had to survive onslaught of fierce shots from the Croatian star, who seemed to come into the game looking to outpower her opponent. The match seemed to be a battle between Paolini’s finesse and Vekic’s brute force. Both women were evenly poised in the first 4 games of the first set before the Croatian found an extra gear to her game.

Vekic would produce one of the shots of the tournament as she brought back a forehand from Paolini back into the game before forcing the Italian to make a mistake with her volley. Vekic then dropped a deft drop shot with Paolini struggled to get and the Crotian was able to get the break point.

From then, Vekic didn’t look back as she breezed past Paolini, winning the next three games and taking the set 6-2 and sending the Italian to the drawing board.

The second set saw a rejuvented Paolini, who was being egged on by the British crowd at centre court. This started a fightback from the Italian as she won the first game. But Vekic and her brute force was still at its prime. She had taken a 2-1 lead before Paolini was able to get back into the contest.

Errors started to creep into Vekic’s game and this allowed Paolini to slowly break away and she was able to break Vekic to complete her comeback and take the game into the all important third set with a 6-4 win.

The third set saw Vekic race to a 2-0 lead as she broke Paolini early and it seemed like the Croatian would stamp her authority in the game. Paolini dug deep once again as she would comeback from 3-1 down to tie things up.

However, Vekic was able to break Paolini to regain the lead but the Italian returned the favour to make it 4-4 as the Croatian seemed to be struggling with an injury issue and looked a bit jaded. Paolini would race through her next set by holding it and setting the game up for the win.

However, Vekic was able to pull things back and save a match point and make things 5-5. The Croatian had the game in her palms but Paolini would push her into the deep end and make it deuce as the centre court was at the edge of their seats.

The game went into a 4th deuce but Vekic got the advantage and her second break point with a delightful passage of play. But it was brought back to parity by Paolini and she was able to take the lead in the end as Vekic was left in tears.

The Croatian regained her composure in the next game as she was able to save two match points as she had the advantage. Vekic did lose it but buoyed by the crowd, she would dig deep and pushed the game into the tie-breaker.

The tie-breaker started well for Vekic as she got a 3-1 lead, but Paolini battled back once again. What followed was a titanic battle between both women as they matched strike for strike before Paolini was able to get her third match point and sealed it as Vekic sent it wide.

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