By Ros Satar
- Naomi Broady def. Sabine Lisicki [3/WC] 7-6(4) 1-6 7-5
- Faces sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard for a place in her first WTA final at the BMW Malaysian Open
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Naomi Broady reached her second WTA semi-final after edging third seed Sabine Lisicki in the BMW Malaysian Open.
With both girls thudding down hefty serves, Lisicki broke first but Broady was undeterred, breaking the 2013 Wimbledon finalist straight back and staying toe-to-toe with the German. Even as Lisicki took the initiative once more, the Brit came straight back at her, forcing a tie-break. The momentum swung as Broady leapt out to a 5-1 lead before being pegged back, but she needed just the single set point to put Lisicki at a disadvantage.
Perhaps that was the spur she needed, as Lisicki bombed ahead in the second set, breaking early and repeating the feat at at the end of the second set, to take it into a decider.
In a week where British women’s tennis has been enjoying some success (both Johanna Konta and Heather Watson were also bidding for semi-final places in WTA Monterrey), things were a little more cagey in the final set.
The pair stayed resolute on serve and Lisicki must have thought she had the finish line in sight as she broke for a 5-4 lead. Yet serving for the match, her closure gremlins struck as Broady broke straight back, to love no less, before delivering the final cut on her second match point, breaking the German one last time.
As reported in WTATennis.com, Broady said: “I’m really pleased that I won. It’s one of the best ranking wins of my career,” Broady said. “It was really a battle of the serves today; Sabine has one of the best serves on the tour and I hope that I will soon have one of the best, too.
“I just tried to keep my composure on my service games and fighting for every point.”
She faces sixth seed Genie Bouchard who came through a straight sets win against Cagla Buyukakcay but had to call the trainer out after having a dizzy spell at the start of the second set. Bouchard struggled at the end of last season with the effects of concussion following a fall at the US Open, just at a time when it seemed she was turning her fortunes around.
She reached the final of Hobart at her season opener, and despite falling early at the Australian open, she has had a couple of better runs with back to back wins for the first time since the start of the season, at both Doha and here in Kuala Lumpur.
Broady of course started her year well with a run to the Auckland quarter-final, and in between the end of the Aussie swing, she notched up another ITF title – which leaves her match sharp before making the main draw of this WTA International.
Although Bouchard has one win over her (at the lower tier level, back in 2012) this is another winnable match for the Brit, who is snapping at the heels of Watson, and could well overtake her by the end of this week.
If nothing else, expect this to be a tough, big serving battle, but Bouchard rarely reacts well to having to come up with a Plan B, and if Broady can keep variety in amongst the hefty serving and that curiously attention-grabbing backhand of hers, she could well be lining up in her first final on Sunday.
Broady and Bouchard are scheduled on Centre Court on Saturday not before 4:30pm (8:30am GMT)