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Raonic, Dimitrov win in Brisbane; Wozniacki, Kerber in Auckland semis

Canada’s Milos Raonic opened his 2016 season with a prickly 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-4 win over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

tennis Updated: Jan 07, 2016 16:19 IST
Milos Raonic,Brisbane Tennis,Roger Federer
Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov hits return against Serbia's Viktor Troicki during their match at the Brisbane International tennis tournament on January 7, 2016.(AFP Photo)

Canada’s Milos Raonic opened his 2016 season with a prickly 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-4 win over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

The fourth-seeded Raonic, who had a first-round bye, appeared agitated at times with Dodig’s play and was seen on camera mouthing an obscenity at his opponent when Dodig hit a half-volley drop shot at the net for a winner.

Lucas Pouille of France beat sixth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3 and will play Raonic in the quarterfinals. Grigor Dimitrov also advanced by beating Viktor Troicki of Serbia 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer was scheduled to play his first match of the season late against qualifier Tobias Kamke of Germany.

Fourth-seeded Angelique Kerber, the highest-ranked woman remaining in Brisbane, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. In another quarterfinal, American qualifier Samantha Crawford beat Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-0 and will next play either Victoria Azarenka, who beat Italy’s Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-2.

Meanwhile at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki moved easily into the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Romania’s Alexandra Dalgheru in a match which lasted only 52 minutes.

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates winning a point against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania with a fist pump. (AFP Photo)

Wozniacki made only eight unforced errors.

“It was pretty good out there,” Wozniacki said. “I really hit it well, I went for my shots. I came to the net — I didn’t even know I could volley like that — so I was pleasantly surprised.”

Wozniacki has a 5-0 record against her semifinal opponent, American Sloane Stephens. Fifth-seeded Stephens recorded a 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over qualifier Naomi Broady of Britain.

Stephens said she felt in good form and that her goal for the season would be to represent the United States at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

“That’s my dream and I really hope I can do that,” Stephens said. “But right now I’m really happy with my game and where I’m at.”

Earlier, Austria’s Tamira Paszek beat fellow qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in a match that lasted almost three hours. Paszek, an Auckland semifinalist in 2008 as a teenager, saved a break point in the final game before finally converting her eighth match point.

Paszek’s semifinal opponent will be Julia Goerges of Germany, who beat Nao Hibino of Japan 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4.

At the Hopman Cup in Perth, Ukraine qualified for Saturday’s final with singles wins over the Australia Gold team of Jarmila Wolfe and Lleyton Hewitt.

Wolfe lost her singles to Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 and Hewitt, who will retire after the Australian Open in two weeks, fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Alexandr Dogopolov to give Ukraine an insurmountable 2-0 lead. Australia won the mixed doubles 3-6, 7-5, 10-5.

Hewitt finishes his Hopman Cup career with eight appearances but no trophy.

In a night match, Jack Sock and Vicky Duval were to lead the United States against the Czech Republic in a matchup between teams already eliminated. Duval replaced Serena Williams, who has inflammation in her left knee and wants to rest ahead of the Australian Open beginning in 11 days.

The Australia Green team of Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova can advance to the final by beating France on Friday. Britain plays Germany in the other match on Friday to end preliminary play.

First Published: Jan 07, 2016 15:39 IST