Agnieszka Radwanska advances to Sydney International final
Agnieszka Radwanska is one win away from lifting her second Sydney International crown after crushing Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 on Thursday.
The 2013 champion showed no mercy for the out-of-sorts Strycova, who appeared well down on energy following a three-hour victory over Caroline Wozniacki in Wednesday's heatwave.
Radwanska admitted Strycova's marathon effort may have helped her on Ken Rosewall Arena.
"I think you have to ask her, but I think so. I think she played an unbelievable match against 'Caro' in this kind of heat. I think there were almost four hours on court with the break," she said.
"I would say thanks to Caro."
The unseeded Strycova has now lost seven straight matches against Radwanska and didn't win a game on serve until the fifth game of the second set.
The match was over in one hour and 15 minutes.
"Sometimes you have these kind of head-to-heads. It's surprising because she's really playing good tennis and improving, as well, a lot. I think it just suits my game," Radwanska said.
"I really like to play in Australia. I love the courts. I feel comfortable here and in Melbourne. I'm just very happy to make another final, especially here when it's always very strong tournament."
The second seed, who is unbeaten in her past six finals matches, will now face the winner of the other semifinal between sixth-seeded Johanna Konta and Eugenie Bouchard.
A title win three days out from the Australian Open would also justify the decision by the world No 3 to change racquets for the new season as she attempts to break her grand slam drought.
The one-time Wimbledon finalist has impressed in Melbourne throughout her career, but has never reached the final.
Desperate to improve a record that includes four quarterfinal losses and two semi-final defeats at Melbourne Park, Radwanska recently switched frames from Babolat to Srixon.
"I think I'm playing a bit deeper and the ball is going a little bit better," he said.
"So that's the difference that I notice. I think we will see in a couple of weeks, it's still early. But so far it's going good."
BERTENS LOSES IN HOBART
Australian Open seed Kiki Bertens has crashed out of the Hobart International tennis at the hands of a qualifier.
Belgian Elise Mertens, ranked 127, disposed of Bertens 6-2 7-5 on Thursday in just 79 minutes.
"It was tough ... for me, it was a little bit searching for rhythm," said world No.22 Bertens.
Despite clawing back to a 5-3 lead in the second set, Bertens lost four straight games to concede the match.
"Before the match, I wanted to try and play aggressive and that didn't work out, or at least I didn't do it during the match so I need to do that better," she said.
Bertens, from the Netherlands, heads to Melbourne for the Australian Open where she's never progressed further than round two but, for the 2017 major, she is seeded 19th.
"From tomorrow, I have to be ready again, be focused again, try to prepare as good as I can into Melbourne," Bertens said.
The victory is a great result for Mertens, whose earlier success in Hobart forced her to miss Thursday's qualifying round for the Open.
She will contest her first WTA main-draw semifinal on Friday against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett, who beat Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg 6-1 6-4 to reach the final four.
It took world No 340 Fett 74 minutes to overcome Royg, ranked 129, who also started the tournament as a qualifier.
The result vindicated Fett's decision to play on in Hobart.
"I'm really happy with my decision, I'm really happy I stayed here. Obviously, I'm winning so all is good - my decision was good," Fett said.
Next to book a place in the semifinals was world No 61 Lesia Tsurenko with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win against American Shelby Rogers.
Her opponent will be decided by a Thursday evening clash between Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki and Romania's Monica Niculescu.
Ozaki on Wednesday caused an upset, ending the Hobart campaign of former world No 5 Lucie Safarova.