Angelique Kerber upset two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the semifinals for the first time in Melbourne. Kerber played spectacular tennis throughout, playing an agressive game plan to pull off the upset.
Kerber Powers Through First Set
Kerber dominated the first set, playing aggressive tennis throughout, being the first player to take a set off of Azarenka this year. In the first game of the set, Kerber broke to love, racing out to a 1-0 lead. The German raced out to a quick 4-0 lead, breaking Azarenka twice to start out the match. Azarenka then held for 4-1, and then broke the Kerber serve for 4-2, bringing the difference to one break. The two time Australian Open champion then held again for 4-3, putting the pressure back on the Kerber serve to keep the early break. The German held her nerve, holding for 5-3, putting the pressure on the Belarusian, to serve to stay in the set. Azarenka saved three set points, but Kerber kept up the aggressive play, breaking to take the first set 6-3.
Kerber Battles Back In Second Set
Kerber fought through the second set, coming back from 5-2 down to win it 7-5. Azarenka broke to begin the second set, getting out to a quick 2-0 lead. Kerber held, with both players holding serve until 3-2, with Azarenka up a break. In the next game, Azarenka held to keep a crucial break lead, getting the score line to 4-2 in the second. The number fourteenth seed broke again to go up 5-2, going up a double break. Azarenka held three set points, but Kerber saved all three with some strong hitting, fighting on to break for 5-3. The German then held for 5-4, courtesy of a forehand unforced error from her Belarusian counterpart. Azarenka then held two more set points, but Kerber fought back again, saving both and eventually breaking for 5-5. The seventh seed then held to go up 6-5, putting the pressure on the Belarusian to serve to stay in the match. With Azarenka serving to stay in the match, Kerber played a spectacular game, closing out the upset with a big forehand winner.
Kerber By The Numbers
Kerber put on a spectacular serving performance throughout, making 64% of first serves and winning 58% of first serve points. The German won 56% of second serve points, a big reason for her victory. Kerber hit 31 winners to only 16 unforced errors throughout the match, playing very aggressive tennis throughout. The number seventh seed broke the Azarenka serve six times, converting 46% of break point chances. Kerber also returned well, winning 51% of receiving points. Kerber's aggressive mindset throughout won her this match today, and watch for the German to keep up the aggressive play in the semifinals.
Up Next For Kerber
Up next for the number seventh seed will be either Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang or unseeded Brit Johanna Konta. Kerber has never played Konta, and has met Zhang once, a straight sets win for the German at the 2012 French Open. Kerber will be a heavy favorite against either play in the semis and look for the German to be the more composed player under the pressure of playing for their first Grand Slam final.