Saturday, 4 December 2021

Konta to play Radwanska in Sydney final

SYDNEY: Johanna Konta blasted Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets to set up a Sydney International final with Agnieszka Radwanska. The British sixth seed dominated her evening semi-final with the former Wimbledon finalist, winning 6-2 6-2 in 68 minutes. She will face Polish second seed Radwanska, who is one win away from her second Sydney title after crushing fatigued Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-2 earlier Thursday. Konta lost both her only two matches with Radwanska last year, but she has been in terrific form this week, accounting for Arina Rodionova, Daria Gavrilova, Daria Kasatkina and now Bouchard without dropping a set. “She’s been one of the best players for as long as I can remember, so she’s definitely doing something right,” Konta said of facing Radwanska in the final. “I’ve played her twice before, I’ve lost twice, so hopefully I will do a better job tomorrow, but either way I am looking forward to the challenge.” It will be 25-year-old Konta’s third career WTA Tour final after winning in Stanford and a runner-up in Beijing last year. Radwanska, the 2013 champion, was too clinical for the 19th-ranked Czech, who was showing the draining effects of the four hours and 22 minutes on court in her Wednesday’s singles and doubles matches.

“I think I’m playing better and better each match,” Radwanska said. “I really like to play in Australia. I love the courts. I feel very comfortable here and in Melbourne. “I’m just very happy to make another final, especially here when it’s always very strong tournament.” Radwanska, who has reached two Australian Open finals, said she was ready for next week’s first Grand Slam tournament of the year. “I’ve already had good matches. I can feel I’m playing better and better. I’m hitting the ball better each match,” she said. “So I think that’s the most important thing to have match rhythm. So, yeah, I think I have had enough. “And I’m just ready for tomorrow for my last match before Melbourne.” Strycova has now lost seven straight matches against Radwanska and didn’t win a game on serve until the fifth game of the third set. Radwanska dropped just three points on serve in the second set, wrapping up the contest in an hour and 15 minutes. Radwanska, who has been unbeaten in her past six finals matches, has been in confident form this week with victories over American Christina McHale and China’s Duan Yingying. It was a big night for Britain on Ken Rosewall Arena with Daniel Evans beating the top seed Dominic Thiem to reach Friday’s men’s semi-final before Konta’s smashing win over Bouchard.

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