Top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska shone in the rain at the ASB Classic women’s tournament in Auckland yesterday, cruising into the semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over unseeded Russian Elena Vesnina.
Radwanska coasted through the first set, but in the second, after a 90-minute rain delay when she trailed 1-2 on serve, she stepped up a gear and wasted no time in finishing off the match.
The Polish player now faces the only unseeded competitor remaining, Jamie Hampton, for a place in the finals after the American beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 in their quarter-final.
The second semi-final pits third seed Yanina Wickmayer against eighth seed Mona Barthel, who has spent less than three hours on court in her first three games.
Wickmayer had the frustration of three rain breaks on her way to beating fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 6-4 and finished the game with a disputed umpire’s ruling.
A line-call was overruled on match point after TV replays showed the ball was out.
Barthel romped to the quickest victory of the week when she shrugged off an early service break to dispose of Swede Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-1 in just 44 minutes.
From 0-2 down, the German reeled off nine straight games as Larsson tired from two previous three-setters, which included knocking out second seed Julia Goerges.
Although ranked 39th in the world, Barthel is brimming with confidence going into the semi-finals and believes she can repeat her win over 23rd-ranked Wickmayer in the Hobart final a year ago.
“I’m playing really good tennis, and if I can play the same way [today], I think I have a pretty good chance,” Barthel said.