Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber looked to be nearing her very best at the Eastbourne International on Thursday, with the German playing some sublime tennis to beat sixth seed Simona Halep in straight sets, sealing a spot in the last four by doing so
This was certainly the pick of the quarterfinals on paper, with Kerber and Halep both slam champions and former world number ones, and they certainly delivered, with both displaying some high quality match in almost perfect conditions in Eastbourne.
Halep was certainly improved from her match yesterday, where she was pushed to three sets by Polona Hercog, though ultimately fell short today as she could not match Kerber consistently, with the German playing one of her best matches of the season to seal a 6-4, 6-3 victory in an hour and 11 minutes.
Sublime Kerber fends off Halep charge
Kerber, a regular feature in Eastbourne, and Halep, who has only appeared at this tournament once before, both received wildcards into the tournament this year, and those wildcards were well and truly justified as they played one of the matches of the tournament on Centre Court.
Kerber has had the better career on grass and has more experience at this tournament, and that perhaps showed early on as the German eased to a 4-1, double break lead, winning the majority of key points. Halep was by no means playing badly, however, and managed to get one of the breaks back. The fourth seed was able to hold on though, being forced to deuce when serving at 5-4 and then converting her second set point to claim the opener.
Much like in the first set it was Kerber who got off to a much quicker start, breaking twice on her way to a 3-0 lead, though Halep converted a fourth break point in a tight game to get on the board and stay in touch. However, the Romanian was unable to get close to Kerber on the German’s serve again, and though there were several amazing rallies, Kerber always seemed to have the edge, and took a second match point when Halep was serving at 3-5 to seal an impressive victory.
Halep certainly played well and will be encouraged going into Wimbledon next week, though could not match Kerber today. The German hasn’t always been at her best since winning her third Grand Slam title last year at SW19, though is looking very good so far in Eastbourne, and will be a big favorite for her semifinal match against Ons Jabeur tomorrow.