Mertens, Wozniacki first semifinal pair at the Australian Open

Tuesday at the 2018 Australian Open featured two quarterfinals from the bottom half of the draw and we have our first semifinal pair, Belgian Elise Mertens vs. Danish Caroline Wozniacki.

In the first quarterfinal, the 37th-ranked Mertens, making her debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park, dominated fourth seed Elina Svitolina on Rod Laver Arena 6-4 6-0 and recorded her first Top 5 victory. The 22-year-old Belgian, who trains at Kim Clijsters’ academy, dictated points against her higher-ranked opponent, going to the net and stepping up her offense.

It was a match between two players on winning streaks, as the Lotto-clad Mertens, the first Belgian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Kirsten Flipkens at Wimbledon 2013, was coming off a successful title defense at the Hobart International, while Svitolina lifted the Brisbane International champion’s trophy in the period leading up to the Australian Open.

Still wearing the jumpsuit instead of her aSMC kit, the second-seeded Wozniacki secured her semifinal place with a 6-0 6-7(3) 6-2 victory over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. After winning the first seven games of the match, Wozniacki trailed 4-2 in the second set and despite recovering to even have a match point in the tenth game, the Dane lost the set in a tiebreak. An early break in the deciding set and then another one in the seventh game handed victory to Wozniacki, who hit 10 aces to her opponent’s one.

The second set of quarterfinals will be played tomorrow: Angelique Kerber [21] vs. Madison Keys [17] and Simona Halep [1] vs. Karolina Pliskova [6].

 

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