Johanna Konta blasted Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets to set up a Sydney International final with Agnieszka Radwanska yesterday. The British sixth seed dominated her evening semi-final with the former Wimbledon finalist, winning 6-2, 6-2 in 68 minutes.
She will face Polish second seed Radwanska, who is one win away from her second Sydney title after crushing fatigued Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 earlier. Konta lost both her only two matches with Radwanska last year, but she has been in terrific form this week, accounting for Arina Rodionova, Daria Gavrilova, Daria Kasatkina and now Bouchard without dropping a set.
“She’s been one of the best players for as long as I can remember, so she’s definitely doing something right,” Konta said of Radwanska. “I’ve played her twice before, I’ve lost twice, so hopefully I will do a better job tomorrow, but either way I am looking forward to the challenge.”
It will be 25-year-old Konta’s third career WTA Tour final after winning in Stanford and a runner-up in Beijing last year. Radwanska, the 2013 champion, was too clinical for the 19th-ranked Czech, who was showing the draining effects of the four hours and 22 minutes on court in her Wednesday’s singles and doubles matches. “I think I’m playing better and better each match,” Radwanska said. “I really like to play in Australia. I love the courts. I feel very comfortable here and in Melbourne. I’m just very happy to make another final, especially here when it’s always very strong tournament.”
Strycova has now lost seven straight matches against Radwanska and didn’t win a game on serve until the fifth game of the third set. Radwanska dropped just three points on serve in the second set, wrapping up the contest in an hour and 15 minutes. Radwanska, who has been unbeaten in her past six finals matches, has been in confident form this week with victories over American Christina McHale and China’s Duan Yingying.
Muller to face Troicki in semis, Thiem beaten
In the men’s event, Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller reached his third straight semi-final in Sydney with straight sets victory over second seed Pablo Cuevas. Muller thundered down 17 aces in ousting the Uruguayan 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 and will face two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki in semis. Troicki, on a 13-match winning streak in Sydney, advanced to the last four after German Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew before their match citing a lower back injury. Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem went out to British number three Daniel Evans 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in just over two hours in the evening match.
It was the 26-year-old Briton’s first win over a top-10 ranked player and it will be his second ATP World Tour semi-final since Zagreb in 2014.
Lleyton Hewitt and Pete Sampras have won back-to-back titles in Sydney but no-one has lifted the Sydney trophy in three consecutive years since Australian John Bromwich from 1937-40.
Russian Andrey Kuznetsov overcame Spanish fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and will face the 67th-ranked Evans in the other semi-final.
(x denotes seed): Men’s quarter-finals
Gilles Muller (LUX x6) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU x2) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4; Viktor Troicki (SRB x3) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x5) walkover (back injury); Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 2-6, 6-4, 6-1; Daniel Evans (GBR) bt Dominic Thiem (AUT x1) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Women’s semi-finals: Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x2) bt Barbora Strycova (CZE) 6-1, 6-2; Johanna Konta (GBR x6) bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-2, 6-2
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