Mertens advances to Hobart tennis final against Niculescu

Elise Mertens of Belgium beat fellow qualifier Jana Fett 6-4, 6-0 at the Hobart International on Friday to advance to Saturday's final against Monica Niculescu.

Mertens, who beat top-seeded Kiki Bertens in straight sets in the quarterfinals on Thursday, broke the Croatian player's service in the opening game of the second set Friday after a short rain delay and dominated for the remainder of the match.

Earrlier, Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from her semifinal against Niculescu, handing the Romanian a walkover to the final.

Tsurenko, who has viral illness, has been drawn to meet No. 1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open.

After withdrawing from the Brisbane International with a similar complaint, the 61st-ranked Tsurenko won three matches in Hobart.

"I'm really disappointed because I'm still not feeling well, and it is getting worse with playing more and more matches," Tsurenko said. "I'm taking some more medications and really hope to be better in Melbourne."

The Australian Open begins Monday, although Tsurenko might not have to play Kerber until Tuesday.