Tennis

Wozniacki wilts in Sydney heat

Caroline Wozniacki's eighth attempt at reaching the Sydney International semi-finals wilted in the stifling Australian heat yesterday with the former world No. 1 going down to Barbora Strycova in a three-set slugfest.

Strycova prevailed 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4 over her 10th-seeded Danish opponent in a 3hr 20min marathon played out in temperatures of around 40 deg C at the Ken Rosewall Arena.

The 30-year-old Czech next meets second seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-2 in the last quarter-final of the day at the Australian Open warm-up event.

Wozniacki has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals in Sydney and she appeared to be heading for a straight-set defeat when Strycova claimed the opener and raced to a 5-0 lead in the tie-breaker of the next.

Wozniacki, however, won seven of the next eight points to force a decider, but the unseeded Strycova reeled off the last three games to seal victory under the scorching sun.

"You just try and think like you're on a beach drinking pina coladas," Wozniacki joked.

"That's basically your train of thought. It's the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally keep cool. But it was really, really hot out there.

"On the positive side of things, I can eat whatever I want now because I have burnt a lot of calories today."

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard and British No. 1 Johanna Konta kept it simple in their quarter-finals to set up a last-four showdown after straight-set victories.

Sydney-born Konta, the sixth seed, won 6-3, 7-5 against Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina, who had stunned world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the second round.

Former Wimbledon finalist Bouchard beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 to continue her good early-season form.

"I don't want to get too happy after a win or too sad after a loss, so, for me, it's just a good step in the right direction," the Canadian world No. 49 said.

"I know there is a long way to go to achieve what I want.

"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." - REUTERS

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