German Takes One Set Advantage
Heading into the last women’s quarterfinal clash, Angelique Kerber led the head-to-head series three wins to one over her hard-hitting opponent. It was set to be an interesting clash between a counter puncher and a very aggressive baseliner.
The first game went quickly in the German’s favor thanks to three Keys backhand errors. Big forehands from both players enhanced the play of the match in early proceedings. The American was able to level the match on her fourth opportunity to hold. An aggressive return game followed for Keys as she raced to a 0-40 lead. Kerber then netted a forehand to hand the first break to the American, but there is a reason Angelique Kerber is the second-ranked player in the world, as she was the first person to break Keys thus far in the tournament.
The German followed up her break with a love hold and in the next game she arrived at some opportunities to break for the second time. Fearless tennis from Madison Keys leveled the match to three games all. The seventh game saw both players hold chances but it was the crafty lefty who stayed more consistent to keep the set on serve. A few amazing forehands later, the following game resulted in a second break on the Kerber return and she was in the driver’s seat at 5-3. A misfired Keys forehand handed this year’s Australian Open champion the first set in 38 minutes.
Second Seed Rolls On
The opening game of the second set finished with a Keys forehand netted into the bottom of the net to give her opponent the early break. The errors from the American youngster’s racquet piled up to put the world number two within four games of the semifinals. It looked likely for Kerber to advance considering her opponent had hit five times more errors thus far, but the steady German did not stop there as she powered a huge forehand return to give her a set and a double-break lead, leaving her desperate opponent in frustration.
Kerber reeled off her seventh straight game but her opponent did not give up. A love hold from Madison Keys was not enough to break the momentum of the world number two. Anticipation and steadiness gave the highest seed remaining a commanding 6-3, 5-1 lead. Despite a big service game to make the second set 5-2, the lefty held at thirty to win the match and book the last spot in the women’s semifinals.
Kerber will face an in-form Azarenka in a blockbuster semifinal clash. The Belarusian leads the head-to-head six wins to one but the German won their most previous meeting en route to her maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne. The feistiness, ball-striking, and fight will make this semifinal meeting one to watch on Thursday.