Olivia Rogowska moved into the semifinals today as she looks to defend her Apis Canberra International tennis title. The 2016 champion Risa Ozaki from Japan was not so lucky losing to Astra Sharma. The semifinals will be an all-Australian affair after Zoe Hives and Isabelle Wallace also progressed.
Rogowska who after winning the Canberra title last year earned an Australian Open main draw wildcard based on her Australian pro tour results has seen her ranking slip in late 2018. Rogowska started the year at no. 162, then moved to no. 145 in March before it moved to the current no. 184 when she wasn’t able to match her Australian pro tour form of 2017.
Today, in blustery conditions, Rogowska was matched against France’s world no. 348 Irina Ramialison who had gone through qualifying to reach the quarterfinals. In round two Ramialison defeated in-form Ellen Perez who had played in four-straight finals on the pro tour without lifting the winner’s trophy.
Rogowska, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament continued that patter defeating Ramialison 6-3, 6-2. Rogowska was too consistent for the Frenchwoman.
Sharma defeated the Ozaki 6-4, 3-6, 6-0. The Australian’s power game eventually wearing down Ozaki. Back in 2016 Ozaki was ranked at 103 going into the Apis International, that made her the top seed.
In 2016 the Japanese player would go on to defeat Italian qualifier Georgia Brescia in the final. Since winning that final Ozaki has seen her ranking hit a career-high in April 2017 after a good showing at the Miami tournament, before it plummeted to no 318 on 10 September 2018. In 2018 Ozaki has mostly been playing in the ITF tournaments
Sharma has been a good performer on the ITF tour in 2018, winning titles in Cairns, Gatineau, and Baton Rouge and taking her ranking from no. 434 at the start of the year to her career-high of 239 at the start of October. After reaching the semifinals in Canberra she is set to hit another career-high at no. 222. If Sharma lifts the winners trophy on Sunday she will jump to around no. 182.
Sharma was also runnerup in Orlando. She came onto the world tour after a few years playing at at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. During her college stint Sharma earned Southeast Conference Player of the Year in 2017 and All-American honours in both singles and doubles the same year. She majored in Medicine and Health & Society.
The centre court match for the women was a tight affair, with both players looking likely to take the win. It was, however, Zoe Hives that eventually got the better of Naiktha Bains in an all-Australian match after coming back from 3-5 down in the final set, including facing a match point at 3-5, Ad to Bains.
In another all-Australian quarterfinal, it was Scottish-Australian Isabelle Wallace that defeated world no. 353 Kaylah Mcphee 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-0. Mcphee will look back at what might have been after letting a good lead slip in the first set tiebreak.
Wallace was born in Scotland and moved to Australia when she was 10-years-old, before returning to Scotland after six-years after having represented Australia in junior tournaments. In 2o15 she decided to represent Australia due to lack of support from the British Lawn Tennis Association.
The semifinal lineup sees current world no. 244 Astra Sharma take on defending champion and no. 184 ranked Olivia Rogowska. The other semi is between world no. 269 Zoe Hives and world no. 338 Isabelle Wallace.
Based on recent form it is likely that we will see Sharma take on Hives in the final to be played on Sunday at the Canberra Tennis Centre at 3 Riggall Place, Lyneham.