Johanna Konta blasted Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets to set up an Apia International final with Agnieszka Radwanska in Sydney yesterday.
The British sixth seed dominated her evening semi-final with the former Wimbledon finalist, winning 6-2, 6-2 in 68 minutes.
She faces 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 facing Radwanska in the final. “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 finishing 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 her 4 hours, 22 minutes on court in the singles and doubles on Wednesday.
“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.”
Radwanska, who has reached two Australian Open finals, said she was ready for next week’s first Grand Slam of the year.
“I’ve already had good matches. I can feel I’m playing better and better. I’m hitting the ball better each match,” she said. “So I think that’s the most important thing to have match rhythm. So, yeah, I think I have had enough and I’m just ready for tomorrow, for my last match before Melbourne.”
In the men’s singles, Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller reached his third straight Sydney semi-final with a big-serving straight-sets victory over second seed Pablo Cuevas.
Muller thundered down 17 aces in ousting the Uruguayan 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 and faces two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki in today’s semis.
Troicki, on a 13-match winning streak in Sydney, advanced to the last four when Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew before their match citing a lower-back injury.
Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem went out to British No. 3 Daniel Evans 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in just over two hours.
Russian Andrey Kuznetsov overcame Spanish fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and faces world No. 67 Evans in the other semi-final.
“That’s pretty much the best win of my career,” Evans said of his upset of Thiem. “In the end he didn’t really know how to get it by me.”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017