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Halep, Dimitrov prevail in Sydney

Halep, Dimitrov prevail in Sydney

SYDNEY: Top-seeded Simona Halep booked a semi-final berth at the Sydney International with a gritty straight-sets win over Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday, while fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the men’s quarter-finals of the Australian Open tune-up event.

Halep beat last year’s runner-up Pliskova 6-4, 7-5 and will next play two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated Sara Errani of Italy 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 on Wednesday.

Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig ended Australia’s Samantha Stosur’s run, 6-4, 6-4 and will face eighth seed Belinda Bencic in the semis after the Swiss beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 in an evening match.

Dimitrov advanced with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 win over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas and will next play Aleksandr Dolgopolov in the quarters after the Ukrainian knocked out American qualifier Alexander Sarkissian 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.

Australia’s top seed Bernard Tomic claimed a quarter-final spot in the tournament for a fourth straight year with a 6-2, 6-4 romp over compatriot Jordan Thompson and will next face Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili — a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

Joining them in the men’s quarter-finals are Nicolas Mahut of France, who beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, who advanced when second-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria retired with an injury while trailing 7-6 (7-2), 2-2.

Muller will face Frenchman Jeremy Chardy who ousted Australian James Duckworth 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 while Mahut faces Serbian third seed Viktor Troicki who won 6-1, 6-4 over Spaniard Tommy Robredo.


At the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament in Melbourne, Nick Kyrgios also retired with a foot injury from his match against David Goffin of Belgium.

Kyrgios, who led Australia to the Hopman Cup team event title last week, won the first set 7-6 (7-5) and was trailing 3-2 in the second when he said he couldn’t continue. The Australian Open begins Monday in Melbourne.

“Hate withdrawing, so sorry to everyone ...” Kyrgios said on Twitter. “I just have to make sure I’m right for next week & I will be.”

Kooyang Classic tournament physiotherapist Rob Hanna said the Australian had a soft tissue inflammation and that he would be fine with rest and ice packs.

Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta earlier beat the 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-4, without dropping serve.

A final match between German Alexander Zverev and Britain’s Kyle Edmund was cancelled.

In an exhibition match before a sparse crowd, 2014 champion Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Australian teenage hopeful Omar Jasika 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 10-4.


In New Zealand, four-time champion David Ferrer beat Australian qualifier Mat­thew Barton 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of Auckland’s ASB Classic for the 10th time in 11 appearances.

Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was untroubled as he beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4, third seed John Isner overcame fellow American Sam Querrey7-6 (10-8), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 and fourth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands, 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-5).

Eighth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain reached the last eight with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over American Donald Young, while Fabio Fognini took just 47 minutes to beat Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-1.

At the WTA’s Hobart International, former Aus­tra­lian Open finalist Domi­nika Cibulkova defeated Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0 and 2012 Hobart champion Mona Barthel of Germany beat Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.

On Thursday, she’ll play Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens, who beat Annika Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-1.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2016

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