Radwanska, Li in Sydney semis

January 10, 2013 - 7:34:10 am

Angelique Kerber of Germany in action during her women’s singles match against Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia at the Sydney International tennis tournament at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, in Sydney, Australia, yesterday.

SYDNEY: Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska clinched a seventh straight victory to reach the semi-finals of the Sydney International yesterday, as she builds towards next week’s Australian Open.

The world number four and tournament top seed overcame Italian world number 16 Roberta Vinci, 6-4, 7-5 in just over an hour and a half to move into the last four.

Radwanska, coming off a victory in Auckland last week where she beat Yanina Wickmayer in the final, will now face 2011 winner Li Na of China.

Li took two hours and 19 minutes to down teenage American qualifier Madison Keys, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 in a night match.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, Slovakian world number 15 Dominika Cibulkova upset French Open finalist and tournament third seed Sara Errani of Italy, 6-2, 6-1.

Cibulkova, who eliminated 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the opening round, will face German second seed Angelique Kerber in the other semi.

Kerber overcame former US and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-5 in the last night match.

While the men’s tournament has been strewn with injury withdrawals ahead of next week’s year-opening Grand Slam, Radwanska said she was relishing her run of matches leading into the Australian Open.

Runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon last year, Radwanska found it tough going in the wind against Vinci, whose backhand slice troubled the top seed.

Cibulkova was on top of her game, converting five of her six break points and winning 75 percent of her first serves against Errani.

Meanwhile, big guns John Isner and Gilles Simon tumbled out of the Sydney International yesterday as Jarkko Nieminen stayed on course to defend his title.

Towering number one seed Isner crashed out 6-4, 6-4 to fellow American Ryan Harrison in the second round and raised doubts about whether he will play in next week’s Australian Open with a bruised right knee.

French second seed Simon bowed out of the tournament without hitting a ball, succumbing to a recurring neck injury and giving an opportunity to lucky loser Ivo Klec to face Nieminen.

Finland’s Nieminen polished off the Slovakian world ranked 416th player 6-3, 6-1 in just 46 minutes to set up a Thursday quarter-final showdown with in-form Australian Bernard Tomic.

Big-serving Isner said he had a decision to make about playing in the year-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne. Agencies