SYDNEY: Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki’s streak of not advancing past the quarter-finals in her past seven Sydney Internationals was extended in stifling heat on Wednesday.
In temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for much of the match, Wozniacki lost 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 to Barbora Strycova in a duel that stretched to three hours, 19 minutes.
Both players were treated for foot injuries during a grueling second set at Ken Rosewall Arena. Wozniacki came back from 5-2 down in that set, and then 5-0 in the tiebreaker, to win it and force a third set.
“It was brutal out there ... but you just try and think like you’re on a beach drinking pina coladas,” Wozniacki said. “That’s basically your train of thought. You know that it’s the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally just try and keep cool.”
In the semi-finals, Strycova will play Agnieszka Radwanska after the second-seed Pole beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-2.
Former Wimbledon finallist Eugenie Bouchard continued her strong start to the year with a 6-2, 6-3 quarter-final win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year.
“I feel more and more confident every day,” Bouchard said. “I feel like I’m getting back into the rhythm of things a little bit, but it’s a long road.”
The Canadian’s semi-final opponent will be Sydney-born Johanna Konta of Britain, who beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5.
Konta broke Kasatkina’s service in the 11th game of the second set, helped by a double-fault to set up break point in that game.
Last year at the Australian Open, Konta became the first British women to make a Grand Slam semi-final since 1983 before losing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber.
In men’s play in Sydney, two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-4, and second-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay defeated Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
Published in Dawn January 12th, 2017