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Qualifier Giorgi ousts Radwanska to set up Kerber clash

By Thomson Reuters Foundation - Jan 11,2018 - Last updated at Jan 11,2018

Camila Giorgi of Italy serves to Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland in their women’s singles quarter-final match at the Sydney International tournament in Sydney on Thursday (AFP photo by Peter Parks)

SYDNEY — Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi continued her impressive run at the Sydney International by racing past Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 on Thursday to set up a last four clash with Angelique Kerber.

Giorgi, belying her ranking of 100th in the world, beat US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round and then ousted twice Wimbledon and former Sydney champion Petra Kvitova.

She is yet to drop a set over six matches in qualifying or the main draw and will next meet world number 22 Kerber who staged a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Dominika Cibulkova in the last eight.

Former world number one Kerber fell out of the top 20 last year but has made a strong start to the year ahead of next week’s Australian Open with victories over Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams this week.

“I’m not looking back 2017 any more,” Kerber, who won the Australian Open and the US Open titles in 2016, said.

“I’ve had a great off-season and I’m working hard. I’m trying to do my best on court and win as many matches before going to Melbourne.

“It’s just the beginning of the year. I’m trying to play my game again, enjoy every minute on court. I’m trying to be aggressive and play like I did the year before last.”

The other semifinal in Sydney will be an all-Australian affair between Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova.

Barty completed a confident 6-3, 6-2 victory over Czech Barbora Strycova, while Gavrilova advanced after her last-eight opponent Garbine Muguruza withdrew due to a leg injury.

“I think it’s amazing for Sydney and for Australian tennis — we’re gonna have an Aussie in the final, which is awesome,” Barty said after her win at the Ken Rosewall Arena.

“Dash and I know each other very well so hopefully we can play some good tennis.”

Meanwhile, Juan Martin del Potro kept his Australian Open preparations on track with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the Auckland Classic on Thursday, setting up a semifinal meeting with David Ferrer.

Former US Open champion Del Potro fired down 11 aces and did not face a break point during the one hour, 33 minutes match.

The 29-year-old second seed, who won the tournament the last time he played in it in 2009, will now return to the top 10 in the ATP rankings on Monday for the first time since August 2014 after struggling with injuries over the past few years.

Waiting for Del Potro in the last four will be Spaniard Ferrer, who brushed aside ATP NextGen Finals champion Chung Hyeon of South Korea 6-3, 6-2.

Ferrer is yet to drop a set in Auckland and has shown glimpses of his old form that saw him win the tournament in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“I tried to play consistent and aggressive because with Chung, he plays with power, and it’s never easy,” Ferrer said in a court-side interview. “He has a really great future.”

Ferrer’s countryman Roberto Bautista Agut will play Dutchman Robin Haase in the other semifinal.

 

2016 champion Bautista Agut defeated Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6(1), 6-2 in the last eight while Hasse beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-4, 6-4.

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