Mertens reaches semifinals on debut at Australian Open

first_imgLATEST STORIES “If you believe in yourself, then anything can happen,” she said. “But of course semis is, ‘Wow.’”She’s the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semifinals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk“Kim, thanks for watching, I knew you sent me a message before the match — don’t be too stressy,” said Mertens, who trains at Clijsters’ academy. “I’m trying to be in your footsteps this week.”The No. 37-ranked Mertens successfully defended her Hobart International title — she decided last year to target that title instead of entering Open qualifying — two weeks ago, and has now won five matches at Melbourne Park. Belgium’s Elise Mertens celebrates after defeating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)MELBOURNE, Australia — A year after opting out of qualifying for the Australian Open, Elise Mertens has reached the semifinals in her debut at the season-opening Grand Slam.Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 on Tuesday to extend her winning streak to 10 matches and be the first woman through to the semifinals at Melbourne Park.ADVERTISEMENT Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Harden’s 28 help Rockets rally for 99-90 win over Heat Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increasescenter_img Svitolina framed an attempted overhead and hit it over the baseline to give Mertens match point, and the 22-year-old Belgian finished it with a backhand crosscourt winner to advance to her first major semifinal.Mertens was one of the biggest movers on the women’s tour in 2017 as she improved her year-end ranking from 120 to 35 and won her first career title.In the semis, she’ll play either second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki or Carla Suarez Navarro.In other quarterfinals, top-seeded Rafael Nadal was playing No. 6 Marin Cilic and No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov faced Kyle Edmund.In other news, No 32-seeded Mischa Zverev was fined $45,000 for a poor performance in his first-round match against Hyeon Chung, the largest penalty ever assessed to an individual during a major.Zverev was punished under a new rule implemented by the Grand Slam Board in the off-season intended to deter players with pre-existing injuries to start a tournament and retired from their first-round matches.Zverev was trailing Chung 2-6, 1-4 on the first day when he retired. His fine of $45,000 nearly equals his first-round prize money of 60,000 Australian dollars ($47,900).Zverev’s fine was the largest ever assessed to a player for an on-site Grand Slam offense. Other players have been fined larger amounts following a Grand Slam tournament, such as Serena Williams’ $82,500 fine in 2009 for her tirade at a U.S. Open line judge.Italian player Fabio Fognini was fined $96,000 last year after insulting a chair umpire at the U.S. Open, an amount that could be reduced to $48,000 if he doesn’t have any further offences over the next two years.The new rule came in response to a rash of first-round retirements at Wimbledon last year. Mertens dominated against Svitolina, who also entered her first quarterfinal in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago.Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year.“She played great from the beginning of the year,” Svitolina said. “But, you know, when I give her opportunities to play and to play a good level, then of course she’s going to play. She’s going to go for shots.“Now she’s in semifinal. Now she’s not just a player that’s up and down. She’s quite consistent, and we can see this.”Mertens raced out to a 5-2 in the first set before Svitolina got her only service break. The second set was no contest. Mertens won a 27-point rally while holding serve in the fourth game, then hit a backhand winner into the open corner to break Svitolina in the next game for a 5-0 lead.ADVERTISEMENT Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Fans fill up Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening PLAY LIST 01:02Fans fill up Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening00:412 buses bound for SEA Games opening collide in Bulacan01:26Filipino culture takes spotlight as 2019 SEA Games officially opens02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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