Stanislas Wawrinka ousts Novak Djokovic, Li Na too in semis
Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard beat former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic to reach her first Grand Slam semifinals and set up a clash with two-time runner-up Li Na, while men's defending champion Novak Djokovic was stunned by Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.
Bouchard came from behind to beat 2008 French Open champion Ivanovic in just under two-and-half hours, becoming the first Canadian to reach Australian Open semifinals.
The 30th-seed is also the second Canadian ever to compete in a Grand Slam singles semifinals. Carling Bassett reached the last four at the 1984 US Open.
Li, the No.4 seed and 2011 French Open champion, is almost 12 years elder than Bouchard. The Chinese beat Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2.
Li was rarely troubled in the one-sided match, outclassing her opponent in 67 minutes to reach the final four of the Australian Open. She lost to Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 final.
She broke Pannetta in the first game of the match, following up with two more to lead the first set 5-0. The Italian, who stunned No.9 seed Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, broke back in the sixth game but Li still managed to take the set 6-2.
Then Li took 32 minutes to win the one-sided second set 6-2.
Pennetta has played the best tennis of her career since returning last year from a wrist injury, which caused her ranking to drop as low as No.166. Back to the court from injury, the Italian reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open and then her first quarterfinal at the Australian Open.
Li only met Bouchard once in the past. Li Na beat Bouchard 6-4, 6-4 in Montreal in 2012.
"We had a tough battle but I was not so experienced back then," said Bouchard. "This time I'll be ready. She won't give me many chances so I'll have to take any that I get."
In men's singles event, Wawrinka took four hours to defeat Djokivic and will play against Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic in the semifinals.
Exactly a year ago, Djokoivc prevailed over Wawrinka in a fourth-round match that ended 12-10 in the fifth set and went five hours and two minutes.
Their semifinal match at the US Open in September was another five-setter but consumed a more modest four hours and nine minutes.
Wawrinka took four hours to eliminate Djokovic who the Swiss lost 14 straight head-to-heads to. Wawrinka also ended Djokovic's 25-match winning streak at the Melbourne Park.
The Swiss also ended Djokoivc's bid for a fourth consecutive title at Melbourne Park.
Berdych beat world No.3 David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to reach his maiden Australian Open semifinals. He took the first set in 30 minutes, dropping just one game. The second one was quite closer with three consecutive breaks but Berdych finally grabbed the chance to serve for the set.
But Ferrer kept his fight spirit on and battled back to take the third set 6-2.
Ferrer appeared to drag the match into an epic struggle but lost focus at 2-2 in the fourth set to surrender serve with unforced errors. Berydch saved five break points in that set before eventually taking the set 6-4.
After quarterfinal exits in the past three years, the big-serving Czech finally earned himself a spot in the semifinals.
The 2010 Wimbledon champion has now made the semifinals of every Grand Slam.
(Posted on 21-01-2014)
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