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Kiki Bertens loses Hobart tennis QF

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017 Andrew Drummond

Australian Open seed Kiki Bertens has crashed out of the Hobart International tennis at the hands of a qualifier.

Belgian Elise Mertens, ranked 127, disposed of Bertens 6-2 7-5 on Thursday in just 79 minutes.

"It was tough ... for me, it was a little bit searching for rhythm," said world No.22 Bertens.

Despite clawing back to a 5-3 lead in the second set, Bertens lost four straight games to concede the match.

"Before the match, I wanted to try and play aggressive and that didn't work out, or at least I didn't do it during the match so I need to do that better," she said.

Bertens, from the Netherlands, heads to Melbourne for the Australian Open where she's never progressed further than round two but, for the 2017 major, she is seeded 19th.

"From tomorrow, I have to be ready again, be focused again, try to prepare as good as I can into Melbourne," Bertens said.

The victory is a great result for Mertens, whose earlier success in Hobart had forced her to miss Thursday's qualifying round for the Open.

She will contest her first WTA main-draw semi-final on Friday against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett, who had earlier beaten Paraguay's Veronica Cepede Royg 6-1 6-4 to reach the final four.

It took world No.340 Fett 74 minutes to overcome Royg, ranked 129, who also started the tournament as a qualifier.

The result vindicated Fett's decision to play on in Hobart.

"I'm really happy with my decision, I'm really happy I stayed here. Obviously, I'm winning so all is good - my decision was good," Fett said.

Next to book a place in the semi-finals was world No.61 Lesia Tsurenko with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 win against American Shelby Rogers.

Tsurenko will meet world No.40 Monica Niculescu.

The Romanian beat 100th-ranked Risa Ozaki from Japan 6-4 6-4 in a gruelling two-hour match and finished with an abdominal strain which she hoped wopuld be better in time for Friday night's semi-final.

"Let's see tomorrow how I'm going to wake up and I want to play the semis and I want to do good here, but let's see," Niculescu said of the complaint which caused discomfort when serving.

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