Qualifiers Bencic, Bouchard into Luxembourg semis

Published by Matt Trollope

Belinda Bencic; Getty Images
Former top 10 stars Belinda Bencic and Eugenie Bouchard continue their surge at the WTA event in Luxembourg while Johanna Konta rediscovers form at the Kremlin Cup.

Belinda Bencic and Eugenie Bouchard have this week reversed indifferent form to stand one win each from a clash in the final of the WTA’s Luxembourg Open.

Bencic and Bouchard, both qualifiers, extended their winning streaks to six with wins on Thursday at the International-level indoor hard court tournament.

Bencic battered Vera Lapko – an opponent she had lost to just last week in Linz – 6-4 6-1 to reach her first WTA semifinal in two years.

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The Swiss, a former world No.7, now lines up against red-hot Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, who took her own winning streak to eight matches with a straight-sets victory over Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan.

Prior to this week, Bencic was on a six-match losing streak dating back to New Haven. The form which took her to the top 10 back in 2015 was only on show intermittently; she advanced to the last 16 at Wimbledon, before losing nine of her next 13 matches.

In Luxembourg, Bencic has dropped just one set.

So too has Bouchard, who thrashed Carla Suarez Navarro for the loss of just one game in the second round before getting past an injured Andrea Petkovic on Thursday.

The former world No. 5 next faces top seed Julia Goerges for a place in her first final in two-and-a-half years.

“It’s weird to win this way, it doesn’t feel amazing. But I’ll wake up tomorrow in the semifinals and be excited to have another chance,” she told wtatennis.com.

“It’s hard, I’ve played six matches in six days – even in Grand Slams you don’t do that because you have days off. But that’s the position that I had to be in coming from qualies. Hopefully as my ranking goes up I won’t have to do that anymore.

“Matches is what I need right now, though. I’ve missed a couple of months here and there because of injury, and I did some good training before coming here. This is exactly what I wanted, matches. I can’t ask for anything more.”

Bouchard had lost five of her past seven matches before arriving in Luxembourg.

Currently ranked No.108, she is projected to rise to 89th in next week’s standings – and higher still if she continues her winning ways. Bencic, the world No.47, is expected to return to the top 40 after this week’s run.

Another player suffering a form slump, Johanna Konta, has enjoyed a confidence-boosting week in Moscow.

The former world No.4, who fell as low as No.50 in mid July, is through to the semifinals after a 6-2 2-6 7-6(2) win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

The victory followed wins over 15th-ranked Elise Mertens and Australia’s Daria Gavrilova.

Konta will next take on sixth seed Daria Kasatkina while in the other semifinal fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova plays qualifier Ons Jabeur.

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