Australian Open 2018: Angelique Kerber dismantles Madison Keys to set up semi-final with Simona Halep
For Madison Keys it will need to have felt like a re-run of her crushing defeat by Sloane Stephens within the last of final 12 months’s US Open. For Angelique Kerber it was a reminder each of how properly she had performed in 2016 and of how far she had fallen final 12 months.
With her performances earlier on this Australian Open Keys had appeared to have put behind her the frustration of her debut in a Grand Slam last in New York final summer season, however Kerber’s thumping 6-1, 6-2 victory in simply 51 minutes may need introduced again sad recollections.
“She played really well,” Keys stated afterwards. “I felt like I was trying different things, but I wasn’t playing very consistently.”
Australian Open – in footage
It was a complete distinction for Kerber, whose type this fortnight has been harking back to her run right here in 2016 when she claimed her first Grand Slam title and went on to add the US Open later within the 12 months.
After a trophy-less 2017 Kerber appointed Wim Fissette as her coach after the Belgian had parted firm with Britain’s Johanna Konta on the finish of final 12 months and has by no means seemed again.
Kerber stated: “I used to be simply enjoying my sport. I used to be not pondering lots about winners or errors. I used to be staying within the second and making an attempt to play each single level.
“I just went out and played like I’ve been playing all week. Just playing my game and enjoying it. I’m just happy to get through and be here in the semis.”
The 31-year-old German, who went high of the world rankings in 2016 however had dropped 20 locations by the top of final 12 months, has not misplaced a match in 2018, having received the Sydney International earlier than arriving right here.
Kerber was too good for Madison Keys (Getty)
Karolina Pliskova changed Kerber on the high of the rankings final summer season, although she stayed there for less than eight weeks earlier than being changed by Garbine Muguruza, who was in flip succeeded by Simona Halep.
Halep, in distinction, seems to have coped admirably with no matter additional strain there may be on a world No 1. The 26-year-old Romanian can also be unbeaten this 12 months, having received the title in Shenzhen within the first week of the brand new marketing campaign, and has maintained her profitable run right here regardless of struggling an ankle harm in her first match.
Last week Halep couldn’t even practise however stated she didn’t really feel any issues with the ankle as she brushed apart the problem of Karolina Pliskova to attain the semi-finals.
Halep appeared in some issue when she misplaced the primary three video games to the Czech however went on to win 9 video games in a row and ultimately beat Pliskova 6-Three 6-2 in simply 71 minutes, making solely 11 unforced errors.
Halep noticed off Karolina Pliskova in Wednesday’s different quarter-final (Getty)
“This was a great match,” Halep stated afterwards. “I started slowly but then I got used to the rhythm. I got used to everything. I played very well. You never know with Karolina because she has crazy good shots sometimes and also the serve. But I read her serve many times today. I was just very strong on the return.”
Serena Williams, who received this title final 12 months however was unable to defend her title so quickly after the start of her first baby, is to make her comeback sooner than meant. The 36-year-old American has been named within the United States’ Fed Cup group to play the Netherlands in Asheville, North Carolina, from February 10-11.
Williams, who grew to become a mom 4 months in the past, had been anticipated to make her return in Indian Wells. However, with her sister Venus additionally within the Fed Cup group, Williams may play solely doubles in North Carolina.