Sydney - Eugenie Bouchard reached her first semi-final for 10 months as she battled intense heat to down higher-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
The former Wimbledon finalist wore down the 27th-ranked
Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in 76 minutes to set up a semi-final with Britain's
world number 10 Johanna Konta.
It will be the 49th-ranked Canadian's first WTA Tour
semi-final since the Malaysian Open in March last year.
"It's a good step in the right direction. I know there
is a long way to go to achieve what I want," Bouchard said.
"But to match up against solid players like I have this
week, it's a very tough tournament here. So I'm proud of that, for sure."
Bouchard beat Konta in three sets in the second round at
last year's Wimbledon, but it was a battle.
"I barely got through the last one. She's a top-10
player. She's playing her best tennis right now," Bouchard said of Konta.
"I know she will be pretty aggressive. She hits a big
ball. I will be ready for that and try and play some good tennis. Yeah, just be
grateful for another day in Sydney."
Konta continued her impressive progress through the Sydney
International draw with a 6-3, 7-5 win over rising young Russian Daria
Kasatkina, who had eliminated German world number one Angelique Kerber in
Tuesday's second round.
"I played Eugenie last year in Wimbledon, a really,
really tough battle," Konta said.
"I know going into it that it's going to be a tough
match. She still is one of the best players, and, yeah, it's a given that it's
going to be a tough one."
Elsewhere on a stifling day where temperatures topped 42
degrees Celsius, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki went down in a
punishing three hour, 20 minute battle with Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-7 (6/8),
Both players needed treatment for foot blisters on the
broiling Ken Rosewall Arena hard-court.
Strycova in the semis will face the 2013 winner Agnieszka
Radwanska, who eliminated Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-2 in the
Duan was the first Chinese woman through to the
quarter-finals in Sydney since Li Na in 2013.
Wozniacki was attempting to end a run of seven Sydney
International visits without getting past the quarter-finals.
She battled back from 5-2 down in the second set and 5-0 in
the tiebreaker but fell in the third set.
"It was brutal out there, and it was really hot. But
you just try and think like you're on a beach drinking pina coladas,"
"That's basically your train of thought. You know that it's the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally just try and keep cool. But it was really, really hot out there."