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January 20, 2018

Gavrilova downs Stosur, into Sydney semis

Daria Gavrilova has breezed past Samantha Stosur and straight into her first Sydney International semi-final.

Gavrilova took out Wednesday night’s all-Australian second-round clash 6-4 6-2 on Ken Rosewall Arena and, courtesy of Garbine Muguruza’s quarter-final withdrawal, will advance to the final four by walkover.

The contest appeared delicately poised at 3-3 in the opening set but a host of unforced errors undid Stosur’s bright start, and the more the 33-year-old was challenged by her compatriot the less answers she had to offer.

The result means Gavrilova will not get the chance to test her Australian Open credentials against world No.3 Muguruza, who pulled the pin with a thigh injury.

But it sets up the enticing prospect of an all-Australian semi-final, should Ashleigh Barty win her quarter-final against Barbora Strycova on Thursday.

Such a situation would ensure a local contests Saturday’s final.

Stosur started freely and confidently, stealing the first break to go 3-1 up in the first set, but Gavrilova turned up the heat to break straight back and dug deep with her service game under pressure.

The 23-year-old made her move at 4-4, breaking her compatriot to love and then serving out the set after Stosur saved two set points.

By the time she was up 5-0 in the second set Gavrilova had won nine out of the last 10 games.

Stosur would not go quietly, breaking back and the holding serve, but her attempt at a comeback ended there.

In other women’s news…

A right thigh injury has ended No.1 seed Garbine Muguruza’s Sydney International campaign shortly after she secured her spot in the quarterfinals.

Muguruza pulled the plug just hours after admitting she was unhappy with her “weird” fitness following her second-round win over Kiki Bertens on Wednesday.

“I am disappointed but I have talked to the WTA doctors and my team after the match today and following their recommendation, I have to withdraw from the tournament,” Muguruza explained.

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