Apia Sydney International Day 5
Kvitova Exacts Revenge on Pironkova; Faces Pliskova for Sydney Crown
apiainternational.com.au: January 15 2015 Sydney, Australia – Petra Kvitova has turned the tables on her conqueror at last year’s Apia International Sydney, beating Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets to advance to the 2015 final.
Kvitova, who lost to Pironkova in last year’s semifinals, gained in confidence and intensity as the match progressed, romping to a 7-5 6-1 victory. She will play compatriot Karolina Pliskova in Friday’s night’s final, the first all-Czech title match at Sydney in the Open era and first all-Czech WTA final since the Hobart International in 2009.
Pironkova, the defending champion, saw her 14-match winning streak in the Harbour City come to an end. The Bulgarian began the brighter of the pair, breaking serve en route to a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Kvitova’s timing was awry as she traded winners with errors, thrown off by Pironkova’s mix of spins, angles and pace.
But Kvitova, who has shown solid form in Sydney this week, began to find her range, and Pironkova increasingly struggled to handle the Czech’s groundstroke length, power and penetration. As the defending champ erred, the second seed surged; a Pironkova error handed Kvitova a set point in the 12th game, which she converted with an off-forehand winner.
The second set was a clinic as Kvitova hit winners seemingly at will. Breaking to go up 2-0, she held comfortably to roll out to a 4-1 advantage, and crushed a barrage of winners in the sixth game to break serve and open up a 5-1 lead. She sealed victory in the next game with her fourth ace.
Karolina Pliskova may have quietly made her way into the Apia International Sydney semi-finals, but today she well and truly announced she is gunning for a title, easily defeating a worn out Angelique Kerber in straight sets 6-3 6-2.
Pliskova, who completed her win over Carla Suarez Navarro in yesterdays quarterfinals with a golden game – every point was won off an ace – was once again on song, giving her German opponent no room to move in a match that lasted just 55 minutes.
Sydney Women’s Singles Semifinals Thursday Jan 15
2-Petra Kvitova beat Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5 6-1
5-Angelique Kerber vs Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2
Kukushkin Ends Del Potro Comeback; Mayer, Troicki, Muller Complete Semis Slate
apiainternational.com.au: January 15 2015 Sydney, Australia – Mikhail Kukushkin has ended the run of Juan Martin del Potro at Apia International Sydney 2015 to advance to the semifinals. Kukushkin, a qualifier, overcame the big hitting Argentine in two tight tie-break sets, 7-6(5) 7-6(3), his sixth consecutive match win.
Del Potro, who had been playing in his first tournament since February 2014 due to a wrist injury, never looked quite as smooth as he did in his first two matches here. He appeared to favour his slice backhand throughout but managed to stick with Kukushkin, who having come through qualifying had a significant advantage in terms of match fitness. Del Potro will now head to Melbourne to continue his comeback at the Australian Open while Kukushkin will play fifth seed Leonardo Mayer, who overcame No.4 seed Julien Benneteau of France in straight sets 6-3 7-6(4).
Gilles Muller has put on a serving clinic to oust local favourite Bernard Tomic in a Ken Rosewall Arena night match at Apia International Sydney 2015. Muller, whose 25 aces were complimented by 53 winners, sealed a 7-6(3) 7-6(13) victory, the epic second set tiebreak seeing both players have several match and set points before the veteran from Luxembourg prevailed. A tight opening set was claimed by the world No.45 from Luxembourg who prevailed in the tiebreak having sent down 11 aces against the Queenslander. The second set followed a similar pattern with both players dominating on serve; Muller fired a further 14 aces and Tomic eight.
Viktor Troicki defeated big-hitting Simone Bolelli in three sets 6-3 3-6 7-5. Having taken the first set, Troicki could not stop the in-form Italian from snaring the second, despite saving a raft of set points with impressive counter-punching in a nail-biting ninth game. With Bolelli surging out to a 5-4 lead with a break, he nonetheless could not serve out the match, and the Serb roared back to win the final three games of the match. A qualifier into the main draw, Troicki has now won six straight matches in Sydney.
Sydney Men’s Singles Quarterfinals Thursday Jan 15
Mikhail Kukushkin beat Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6(5) 7-6(3)
5-Leonardo Mayer beat 4-Julien Benneteau vs 5-Leonardo Mayer
Gilles Muller beat Bernard Tomic 7-6(3) 7-6(13)
Viktor Troicki beat Simone Bolelli 6-3 3-6 7-5