Lucky loser Birrell makes semis in Mildura
A career-best win has seen Kimberly Birrell reach the semifinals of the 2015 Mildura Grand Tennis International, one of three Aussie women through to the final four.
Lucky loser Kimberly Birrell has posted the best win of her fledgling career in ousting rising Korean teenager and reigning champion Su Jeong Jang on Friday to lead three Australian women into the semifinals of the 2015 Mildura Grand Tennis International.
Making the most of her late call-up this week – an opportunity she says was “so unexpected” – the 16-year-old Queenslander fought hard to see off the second seed, 6-3 1-6 6-4.
“I played my own game today,” Birrell said. “On grass, you really have to believe in yourself and I did that.
“I think it’s the biggest (win of my career). I’m really happy.”
Birrell, who is currently balancing her tennis career with Year 12 studies, has found the grass at Mildura very much to her liking.
“I really haven’t played that much on grass,” she said. “But I definitely think it suits the way I play.”
In her first Futures semifinal, Birrell will meet 25-year-old Frenchwoman Sherazad Reix, who upset Aussie fourth seed Jessica Moore in three sets, 6-0 6-7(7) 6-4.
The other women’s semifinal sees an All-Australian match-up between last year’s runner-up Alison Bai, who defeated compatriot Abbie Myers 6-4 7-6(4), and 18-year-old Victorian qualifier Zoe Hives, a comfortable winner over her fellow qualifier from Japan, Nozomi Fujioka, 6-3 6-1.
Three Australian men into semifinals
In men’s quarterfinal action – as with the women – three Australians have reached the semifinals.
Unseeded Tasmanian teen Harry Bourchier came back from a set down to defeat Oliver Anderson 3-6 6-3 6-3; despite the loss, the 16-year-old Queenslander enjoyed a good week in his first singles event for nearly a year after recovering from a significant back injury.
“(Anderson) definitely played pretty well today,” Bourchier said. “But I found my rhythm in the second set early, started being a bit more aggressive which helped a lot, and got the win in the end.”
Also on the comeback trail is Bourchier’s semifinal opponent, second seed Dane Propoggia, who made short work of Ryan Agar 6-3 6-1.
The 24-year-old from Sydney – a runner-up in Mildura last year – was last seen locked in battle during the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open this year, a match he ultimately lost after playing the final few games of the deciding set with a fractured right foot.
Sydney will be well represented on Saturday with Matthew Barton continuing his impressive form after winning the title in Port Pirie last week.
Barton swept past Thomas Fancutt 6-3 6-3 and will now attempt to stop British top seed Brydan Klein from winning his third Mildura title.