Wozniacki, Radwanska through to Eastbourne semifinals
EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki reached the Eastbourne semifinals for the third consecutive year by beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets, while Agnieszka Radwanska also won easily on Thursday.
The second-seeded Wozniacki won 7-5, 6-1 on a hot day on the south coast, and will next play 18-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic, who ended Johanna Konta’s superb run in her home tournament with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory.
Wozniacki lost in the Eastbourne semifinals in 2013 and ’14 — and lost to Bencic in their last meeting, in the last 32 at Indian Wells in March. The Dane hasn’t advanced beyond the fourth round in eight attempts at Wimbledon, but is playing herself into some form on the grass of Eastbourne, where she won the title in 2009.
“I’m excited to play tomorrow, to get another semifinal here, and it’s nice to have got a few more matches under my belt before Wimbledon,” said the former top-ranked Wozniacki, who dropped her first three service games against Petkovic.
Konta, a wild card, has been gaining plenty of pre-Wimbledon attention in Britain this week after collecting two wins over players in the top 20, and clinched the first set against Bencic with an ace.
Bencic, a rising star of the women’s tour who was watched by compatriot and five-time grand slam singles champion Martina Hingis, dominated after that.
“She definitely stepped up her level - she played very well,” Konta said. “I have been struggling with some things this week, and it kind of caught up (with) me today.”
Radwanska, a former Wimbledon finalist, beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of a grass event for the second time in three weeks, after doing so at Nottingham.
The ninth seed set up a match against Sloane Stephens, the American who had a walkover after Russian opponent Daria Gavrilova pulled out with a stomach injury.
“I woke up this morning and thought it would be fine but I tested it in practice and felt some pain,” Gavrilova said. “It isn’t good enough to play a player like Sloane, where you need to be 100 percent.”