Photo: Francesco PanunzioElizaveta Kulichkova (RUS)
MILAN, ITALY: Second seed Elizaveta Kulichkova continues to take the Italian Open by storm but the Russian teenager still had to work hard to earn her place in the semi-finals of the prestigious Grade A event in Milan.
Kulichkova progressed to the last four of the tournament - which is also known as the 53rd Trofeo Bonfiglio - by battling past American Sasha Vickery 64 36 62 and in doing so set up an enticing semifinal clash against German qualifier Antonia Lottner. Lottner came through her quarterfinal after opponent Olga Korashvili retired with Lottner leading 5-2 in the first set.
Kulichkova is the only seed left in the semifinals after a string of upsets earlier in the tournament. In the other girls semifinal, Katerina Siniakova (CZE) will play Croatian Adrijana Lekaj, who came through qualifying and continues to impress in the main draw. Lekaj beat Lithuania’s Akvile Parazinskaite 62 62 to mark what must count as one of the best weeks of her ITF Junior career.
For her part, Siniakova needed three sets and plenty of hard work to seal her place in the semifinals. The Czech overcame Daria Salnikova (RUS) 67(5) 60 75.
Italian favourite and third seed Gianluigi Quinzi continued his dominant form at the Grade A event but was made to work hard for his 36 63 75 win over seventh seed Mitchell Krueger of the USA. Quinzi will take on Borna Coric after the Croatian beat South African Wayne Montgomery 75 75.
The South African, for his part, is in the ITF Grand Slam Development Fund Touring Team and will continue to travel and play as part of the team during the coming weeks.
In the other half of the boys’ draw, Uzbekistan’s Temur Ismailov defeated Serbia's Laslo Djere 60 64. Ismailov's semifinal opponent will be Quentin Halys of France, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw and has already knocked out 13th seed Josh Ward-Hibbert (GBR). Halys continued his run in Milan with 75 62 victory over Elias Ymer of Sweden.