Even though Thursday at the 2016 Brisbane International featured players like Victoria Azarenka & Angelique Kerber, the most talked about player was one you may have never heard of before: Samantha Crawford. After stunning Belinda Bencic on Wednesday, the 20-year-old American continued her amazing Brisbane run on Thursday, making the tournament’s semifinals by beating Andrea Petkovic in straight sets.
Ranked #142, Crawford started her Brisbane week playing through the qualifying stages and now she’s into the round of the final four. While the sole fact that a player outside of the Top 100 makes the semifinal of a Premier tournament is remarkable on its own, the way in which Crawford clinched her victories is even more remarkable.
Much like Belinda Bencic the day before, Petkovic was visibly puzzled by Crawford’s constant powerful winners that allowed the young American to win her first ever WTA quarterfinal in just 58 minutes, leaving the much more experienced Petkovic not a single game in the second set.
Crawford will be rewarded with what will be the biggest match of her career on Friday, when she takes on Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian former #1 and two-time Australian Open champion is playing herself into proper form this week, sweeping by Roberta Vinci in two quick sets during her quarterfinal.
The second semifinal on Friday will be played between Angelique Kerber & Carla Suarez Navarro. While Kerber had no problems beating Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, Suarez Navarro remained victorious in a tight three-setter against America’s Varvara Lepchenko.
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