23 Jan 2014

Zverev and Kozlov reach semifinals in Melbourne

News Article

By Simon Cambers

Photo: Corinne DubreuilAlexander Zverev (GER)

Top seed Alexander Zverev and No. 2 Stefan Kozlov moved within one more win each of a final showdown at the Australian Open on Thursday while girls’ No. 2 seed Ivana Jorovic suffered a shock defeat.

Germany’s Zverev, who survived a long three-set battle in round two, has been improving by the day and looked confident in his 62 64 win over 11th seed Hyeon Chung of Korea.

The seedings would suggest a Zverev-Kozlov final and the American did his part with another nerveless performance, taking out 10th seed Andrey Rublev 62 61 to reach his first grand slam semifinal.

Rublev had won an epic third-round clash, 1412 in the final set and had almost nothing left against Kozlov, who does not turn 16 until February 1.

Zverev plays Bradley Mousley, the last Australian in the draw, who saw off ninth seed Kamil Majchrzak of Poland 63 64.

The Australian is into his first grand slam semifinal in juniors but won the doubles title in Melbourne last year and on Thursday, he won through to the final again.

Last year’s experience, Mousley, said, should help him when he takes on the world’s top-ranked player in Zverev.

“I guess it’s given me the confidence to just play well at deeper stages of the tournament, try not to get too nervous,” he said.

“It would be very nice to do a singles and doubles double – not sure it’s going to happen but I’ll try my best to.”

Mousley and Austria’s Lucas Miedler reached the final of the doubles but the Australian said his first priority was to beat Zverev, if possible.

“I played him last year in a lead-up tournament before Wimbledon and I lost 75 63,” he said. “It was a close match, I had my chances and we beat him in doubles yesterday too, which is always good to get one over him.

“I know he’s a good player, I saw him play last week. One of my friends, Omar (Jasika) played him in the final last week so I’ll probably go to him and ask him for some help. I’m not too worried that he’s No. 1 in the world. I think I’ll be OK if I just stick to my game.”

Mousley will also be able to call on help from last year’s champion, Nick Krygios, whose exploits in transferring to the main draw have inspired Mousley and all his fellow Australians.

“I’ll probably talk to Nick before my match,” he said. “Even though Nick left for Paris today, we still text. He will give me some advice and try to get me pumped up for the match.”

Australians have won the boys’ title in four of the past seven years and Mousley said seeing his friends do so well can only help.

“It gives me confidence to get through,” he said. “I know I can match it with them because I train with them all the time. I haven’t played them recently but I’m not that far away from them.”

Kozlov will play seventh seed Quentin Halys of France, who beat Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus 63 64.

Fourth seed Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia is the highest-ranked player left in the girls’ draw, battling past sixth seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia 61 16 64.

She’ll play seventh seed Ziyue Sun of China, who caused the day’s biggest upset with a 63 75 victory over Serbia’s No. 2 seed Ivana Jorovic.

The second semi-final will see the two unseeded players squaring off.

Australia’s Kimblerley Birrell upset No. 10 seed Anastasiya Komardina of Russia 67 61 63 to set up a clash with Croatia’s Jana Fett, a 62 36 63 winner over American Olivia Hauger.

Fett is trying to follow in the footsteps of Ana Konjuh, last year’s champion and one of her best friends.

“I am good friends with Ana and Donna (Vekic, another Croatian), more with Ana,” she said. “It’s so much of an inspiration seeing them do well. Ana was playing professional this year. And Genie (Bouchard) as well, she was playing semis, so I was like “come on, I need to catch up”.

Fett was watched by her Fed Cup captain, the former French Open champion Iva Majoli, who is helping to instil confidence that she can win the title. “She was here and supporting me, saying come on Jana, you can do it,” Fett said.

On Friday, the boys’ doubles final will be between Mousley and Miedler and third seeds Halys and Johan Sebastien Tatlot, while top seeds Anhelina Kalinina and Kulichkova of Russia will play Jorovic and Britain’s Katie Boulter in the girls’ final.