Australian Open 2018: Elise Mertens to face Caroline Wozniacki in semi-finals
World No 37 to face Caroline Wozniacki, who ended the hopes of unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro, on Thursday
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 24/05/18 2:22pm
Belgium's Elise Mertens stunned fourth seed Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where she will meet Caroline Wozniacki.
Mertens had never been beyond the third round of a Grand Slam prior to arriving in Melbourne but has made rapid strides up the tennis ladder over the past year and is now on a 10-match unbeaten streak after winning in Hobart this month.
Ukrainian Svitolina came into the match riding high on a nine-match winning streak from the start of the season but, hampered by a hip injury, was outplayed by the aggressive Belgian on Rod Laver Arena.
Mertens, 22, was not ranked high enough to get into the main draw 12 months ago but currently stands at 37 and is set to break into the top 20 by virtue of making the last four.
She was the aggressor against Svitolina, hitting 26 winners compared to just 14 from her opponent, and wrapped up a deserved victory and a date with Caroline Wozniacki, who limped past unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-7(3) 6-2, on Thursday.
Despite her lofty ranking, Svitolina was also looking to make her first Slam semi-final but instead fell to her fourth quarter-final loss.
The Belgian said: "I'm without words. I feel mixed emotions, all good emotions. I gave it all today. It was a little stressy at the end but I played my game and it went well today. She's a great mover, a really strong player. I just tried to be aggressive."
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Mertens is the first Belgian player to reach the semi-finals here since former champion Kim Clijsters in 2011.
Addressing Clijsters, who was watching back home in the middle of the night, Mertens said: "I'm trying to be in your footsteps."
Wozniacki, a former world No 1, came into the season's opening Grand Slam as a pre-tournament favourite and won a one-sided first set only to face greater resistance from Suarez Navarro, who saved a match point before forcing a final set after winning a second set tiebreak.
Despite the setback Wozniacki, yet to win a Grand Slam, recovered well to rediscover her dominance from the baseline to secure victory after two hours and 11 minutes.
"I knew it wasn't going to be that easy ... In the second set I had the chance to close it out so I was disappointed I didn't do that," Wozniacki, who made the semi-finals in 2011, said on-court.
"I'm just proud that I managed to stay cool and finish it off in the third set.
"(Mertens) has had an amazing start to the year. It's going to be a tough one but I'm excited for it."
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