SYDNEY: Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska will put her eight-match winning streak on the line when she faces Dominika Cibulkova in the final of the Sydney International on Friday.
Top seed Radwanska needed seven match points on Thursday to down former winner Li Na and reach the final, remaining unbeaten in the early weeks of the new season ahead of next week’s Australian Open Grand Slam.
Radwanska finally clinched a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 32 minutes over the Chinese star at the Ken Rosewall Arena.
Slovakia’s Cibulkova became the first unseeded player in six years to reach the Sydney final when she ousted German second seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in Thursday’s other semi.
Cibulkova, who could reach as high as number 13 ranking from her current 14 if she wins the Sydney final, has not played Radwanska for five years and trails 3-0 in their encounters.
Radwanska became the first top seed to reach the Sydney final since American Serena Williams three years ago.
She is in hot form ahead of the Australian Open after last week’s victory in Auckland, where she beat Yanina Wickmayer to lift the trophy.
TOMIC DOWNS NIEMINEN
Young Australian Bernard Tomic took a major step towards winning his first career ATP Tour title by downing defending champion Jarkko Nieminen at the Sydney International on Thursday.
The 20-year-old, ranked 64th, clawed back from dropping the opening set to oust the Finn, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2 in a night quarter-final. Tomic will take on third seed Andreas Seppi in Friday’s semi after the Italian eliminated Spanish eighth seed Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-5, in the last quarter-final.