Bouchard storms into semis

Bouchard storms into semis

Eugenie Bouchard hits a return to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in their quarterfinal match at the Sydney International Tennis Tournament Wednesday. — AFP
Eugenie Bouchard hits a return to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in their quarterfinal match at the Sydney International Tennis Tournament Wednesday. — AFP

SYDNEY — Eugenie Bouchard reached her first semifinal 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 semifinal with Britain’s world number 10 Johanna Konta.

“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.”

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 No. 1 Angelique Kerber in Tuesday’s second round.

Elsewhere on a stifling day where temperatures topped 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit), former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki went down in a punishing three hour, 20 minute battle with Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.

Strycova in the semis will face the 2013 winner Agnieszka Radwanska, who eliminated Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-2 in the evening match.

In the men’s section, Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem had a three-set struggle with Portuguese qualifier Gastao Elias before clinching a quarterfinal spot.

Thiem, the world No. 8, had several chances to put away the plucky 81st-ranked Elias, only to be broken back before he eventually won 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5 in a match that finished at midnight.

Thiem will now face Britain’s No. 3 Daniel Evans in Thursday’s quarters.
Evans fought back from dropping the opening set to down Spanish eighth seed Marcel Granollers 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Gilles Muller earlier beat the heat to be one match away from a third straight semifinal appearance, following a big-serving victory over Australian Matt Barton.

The sixth seed from Luxembourg prevailed over Barton 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 as temperatures nudged 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) to reach the quarterfinals.
Muller will next face Uruguayan second seed Pablo Cuevas, who overcame Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

German fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber knocked out Australian Jordan Thompson 7-5, 6-4 and will face the two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki.

Third seed Troicki from Serbia won his 13th consecutive match at the Sydney international with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.

Spanish fourth seed Pablo Carreno-Busta dropped the first set before overcoming German Mischa Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Carreno-Busta will face Andrey Kuznetsov in the last eight after the Russian beat Australian teenager Alex De Minaur on an injury retirement at the start of the second set after winning the opening set 6-2.