Australian Open SeriesSaturday, January 11, 2014
Del Potro to meet Tomic in Sydney final
Juan Martín del Potro earlier underlined his status as a dark horse for Australian Open by hammering Dmitry Tursunov to set up a final against Bernard Tomic. David Ferrer’s bid for a fifth Auckland Open title was ended in the semifinals by a loss to Lu Yen-hsun.
SYDNEY — Top-seeded Juan Martín del Potro will meet reigning champion Bernard Tomic in the final of the Sydney International.
The 2009 US Open champion had 6-4 6-2 semifinal win yesterday over fourth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov. Tomic had a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky, who produced one of the upsets of 2013 to beat Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon.
Tomic’s win came only hours after he was drawn to face No. 1-ranked Rafael Nadal in a daunting first-round match next week at the Australian Open.
The 21-year-old Australian raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set but Stakhovsky broke back and rallied to win it in a tiebreaker.
Tomic broke the No. 101-ranked Stakhovsky in the 11th game of the second set and leveled the match on his fourth set point.
He got the decisive break in the seventh game of the deciding set, and then broke his Ukraine rival’s serve again in the ninth to win on his third match point.
“I was very happy to get out of this match — he should have won,” Tomic said, adding that he’d have to improve vastly to have any chance of winning the final against del Potro, who beat him in straight sets in their only previous meeting.
Del Potro, who is also in Nadal’s quarter of the draw at Melbourne Park, yesterday said he was only concerned about the Sydney final for now.
“I’m trying to be professional. This tournament is not over yet for me,” he said. “My team already knows they’re not allowed to talk about Melbourne yet. My friends, too.”
Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova’s fairytale run at the Sydney International ended with her first WTA title when she stunned world number nine Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-4 in the final.
Pironkova had already beaten world number six Petra Kvitova and number seven Sara Errani in the seven matches it took her to get the final and rode a second set fightback from her German opponent to claim the victory.
“Mum and Dad, we have a trophy,” the 26-year-old former Wimbledon semifinalist beamed after her triumph.
Unseeded Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan stopped David Ferrer’s bid for a fifth singles title at the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, with an upset 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win in his first-ever semifinal at ATP level.
Lu moved into a final against third-seeded John Isner, who rallied from a set and a break down to beat unseeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.
Top-seeded Ferrer won the Auckland title in 2007 and in each of the last three years but dropped serve twice and made 20 unforced errors in the first set. “I know he’s a tough guy and I tried to play my best tennis and fortunately I did it,” Lu said. “He’s not playing bad, I just played unbelievable.” Ferrer is seeded No. 3 for the Australian Open.
In a preview of their first-round match at the Australian Open, Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic beat 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur 6-3 6-2 in the semifinals of the WTA event at Hobart. Zakopalova will next play Garbine Muguruza, who beat Estrella Cabeza Candela 6-0 6-1 in a semifinal between two Spanish qualifiers.
At the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament in Melbourne, Richard Gasquet advanced when his fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon retired with an injured right ankle in the second set. Gasquet, who was leading 7-6 (7-3) 1-0, will face Tomas Berdych in today’s final. No. 18-ranked Simon was due to have medical tests to determine if he can play at the Australian Open.