In her first visit to Melbourne Park, 16-year-old Czech Katerina Siniakova has stormed into the semi-finals of the Australian Open girls’ singles championship.
Siniakova, the No.2 seed, was impressive as she brushed aside Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-2 in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
As the temperature soared, so did Siniakova’s tennis as she fired down six aces in the 59-minute victory.
Siniakova, who reached the quarterfinals in her junior Grand Slam debut at the 2012 French Open, was excited with her win.
“It’s my first Grand Slam semifinal, so I’m very happy,” she said.
Siniakova harbours ambitions to be a top-five player in the future and believes she has the game to get there. She lists her fighting ability as her greatest strength and idolises Russian Maria Sharapova.
“I always fight for every point,” she said. “I think for other girl it is hard because I never give up.”
Her next opponent is 10th seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia, who upset fourth-seeded German Antonia Lottner 6-1 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Kontaveit beat Siniakova in their only previous match, winning in straight sets in the third round of the 2012 US Open junior championships.
The Estonian went on to finish runner-up at the championships, her best junior Grand Slam performance to date. By reaching the Australian Open semifinals, the 17-year-old Kontaveit has now made the semifinals at all four junior Grand Slams.
Siniakova led 4-3 with a break in the second set of their US Open match before losing the next three games. She said she had learnt from that experience.
“I lost but I hope now I will win,” Siniakova said. “I think my serve is better than before and I don’t make so many mistakes.”
The other semifinal pits Croatian third seed Ana Konjuh against unseeded Russian Elizaveta Kulichkova.
The 16-year-old Kulichkova upset eighth seed Belgian Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals, winning 6-4 7-5.
The big-hitting Russian fought back from a 2-5 deficit in the second set, reeling off five straight games to win the match.
Mertens had two set points on the Kulichkova serve at 4-5 in the second set but could not capitalise, with Kulichkova out-hitting her 17-year-old opponent when it mattered most.
Konjuh moved into the semifinals with a 6-4 6-4 win against 12th seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. It is the15-year-old’s best Grand Slam performance to date, bettering a quarterfinal showing at the 2012 Wimbledon junior championships.
In doubles competition, the sixth-seeded combination of Ukrainian Oleksandra Korashvili and Czech Barbora Krejcikova booked a finals berth with a 6-3 2-6 10-7 defeat of Thailand’s Kamonwan Buayam and China’s Ziyue Sun in the semifinals.
Korashvili and Krejcikova will face top seeds Ana Konjuh of Croatia and Carol Zhao of Canada in the final.
Konjuh and Zhao had a fight in their semifinal against No.5 seeds Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia and Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan, triumphing 4-6 7-6(5) 10-4 after trailing by a set and break earlier in the match.