Konta advances to Sydney International final vs Radwanska
SYDNEY: Johanna Konta ended the strong run of wild-card entry Eugenie Bouchard at the Sydney International on Thursday, beating the Canadian 6-2, 6-2 to advance to Friday's final against Agnieszka Radwanska.
The Sydney-born British player, a surprise semifinalist at last year's Australian Open and seeded ninth for this year's Grand Slam tournament, broke Bouchard's service in the third game of the first set, then broke again to open the second.
Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals 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.
On Thursday, Bouchard, who was trying to win three matches in a row for the first time in nearly a year, was overwhelmed by Konta's groundstrokes and strong return of serve.
"I've played her (Radwanska) twice and lost to her twice, so hopefully I can step up tomorrow night against her," said the 25-year-old Konta, who moved from Australia when she was 14 and became a British citizen in 2012.
Earlier, the second-seeded Radwanska defeated a tired Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-2.
It was Radwanska's seventh consecutive win against the Czech, who toiled for more than 3 hours to beat Caroline Wozniacki the previous day, than backed that up with a doubles match.
"She played an unbelievable match against Caro (Wozniacki) in this kind of heat," Radwanska said. "There were almost four hours on court with the break. I would say thanks to Caro."
In men's play, Gilles Muller beat second-seeded Pablo Cuevas 7-6 (5), 6-4 to advance to the semifinals against two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki.
Troicki had been scheduled to face No. 5 Philipp Kohlschreiber in another quarterfinal match, but the German withdrew with a back injury, handing the third-seeded Troicki a walkover.
In a night match, Daniel Evans had an upset 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria.
Evans, who beat a top-20 player for the first time with his win over the eighth-ranked Thiem, will next play Andrey Kuznetsov, who advanced with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta.
At the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, seventh-seeded Steve Johnson beat two-time champion John Isner 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3).
"Last year I was here and my attitude wasn't the best, but you live and you learn, you come back and I'm glad I turned it around this year," said Johnson, who lost in the first round in 2016.
Johnson's semifinal opponent will be fourth-seeded Jack Sock, who beat Jeremy Chardy 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis and unseeded Jaoa Sousa also advanced with straight-set victories. Sousa beat Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2 while Baghdatis defeated 2015 champion Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-4.
At the Hobart International, qualifier Elise Mertens had an upset 6-2, 7-5 quarterfinal win over top-seeded Kiki Bertens. Mertens will play Jana Fett, who beat Veronica Cepede Royg 6-1, 6-4, in the semifinals.
Lesia Tsurenko also advanced with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Shelby Rogers. In the semifinals, Tsurenko will play Monica Niculescu, who beat Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki 6-4, 6-4.