Top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska advanced to the Sydney International final yesterday, running her winning streak to eight matches with a 6-3, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Li Na.
Radwanska, who lost last year’s Wimbledon final to Serena Williams, won in Auckland last week and will go into next week’s Australian Open as the fourth-seeded player.
She said she felt little pressure to extend her winning run.
“Actually when I was going on court, of course if I win, great; if not, I mean, not that big deal because I really had a lot of matches here and in Auckland,” she said. “I’m really ready for the Australian Open. It’s always hard to say, but I think of course winning two tournaments in a row is a good thing.”
Radwanska will play Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in today’s final. Cibulkova beat second-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
In men’s matches, unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-3 and will play Julien Benneteau of France in the semi-finals today. Benneteau beat American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2.
Bernard Tomic of Australia, who beat No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Hopman Cup two weeks ago, advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2 win over Jarkko Nieminen of Finland.
AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Defending champion David Ferrer stormed into the semi-finals of the Auckland ATP tournament yesterday, setting up a intriguing clash with resurgent Frenchman Gael Monfils for a spot in the final.
Top seed Ferrer needed less than an hour to swat aside Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1 at the warm-up event for next week’s Australian Open, cracking forehand winners seemingly at will to break his opponent’s serve.
The Spaniard, chasing a record-equalling fourth Auckland title, looked far more dynamic than in his second-round match against Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun on Wednesday, saying he adjusted his game after initially being wrong-footed by the speed of the court.
“It’s never easy, but I played a very good game today, I had a good feeling with my game and my shots,” the world No. 5 said. “Yesterday was a surprise for me, but today I feel better.”
Ferrer said he would need to be at the top of his game for today’s semi-final against Monfils, who has beaten the Spaniard in all three of their previous meetings.
The Frenchman, granted a wild card as he returns from a knee injury that saw his ranking plummet, was involved in undoubtedly the most entertaining quarter-final of the day, downing evergreen German Tommy Haas 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Third seed Haas started stronger in a tense match that at various times saw both players pick arguments with the chair umpire, taking the first set 6-3 after a rash of errors from Monfils.
The Frenchman found form in the second set, covering the court with typical energy and unleashing some spectacular winners to take a crucial service break in the fourth game.
It proved a turning point, with Monfils going on to win the set 7-5 and 34-year-old Haas fading as the match wore on, eventually conceding the third set 6-3 after more than two hours on court.
Second seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany eased past Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 to reach the semi-finals for the fourth time in nine appearances.
Kohlschreiber, the 2008 Auckland champion, will play Sam Querry for a place in the final after the American fourth seed defeated Canada’s Jesse Levine 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
AP, HOBART, Australia
Mona Barthel of Germany extended her defense of the Hobart International title to the semi-finals after beating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-3 yesterday.
Barthel will play Kirsten Flipkens next after the Belgian beat Monica Niculescu of Romania 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens advanced by downing fellow American qualifier Lauren Davis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 and will play Elena Vesnina of Russia in today’s other semi-final. Vesnina played better in windy conditions to top wild card Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-3, 6-2.