Friday, August 19, 2016

Sluggish Kerber finds a way to win

Photo by Leslie Billman/Tennisclix
Angelique Kerber, looking tired and a step behind throughout her first quarterfinal set in Cincinnati, nevertheless found a way to advance to the semifinals over Carla Suarez Navarro. The Spaniard took the first set 6-4 after out-serving and out-hitting Kerber in rallies that mostly lacked Kerber's lethal low, cross-court blows. The German picked up her level in the second set, however--though it took her a few games to do it. The third was all about Kerber, who won the match 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. 

Afterwards, Kerber acknowledged being tired, and said that the days were kind of running together for her and she sometimes isn't even sure what day it is. But, she said, staying in the moment helped her to prevail against Suarez-Navarro. She talked about her serve being inconsistent--she hit three aces but double-faulted 10 times. And she emphasized again that she was putting herself under no pressure at all regarding her potential number 1 ranking.

The German star said she handled the time between the first and second sets by staying positive, and telling herself "to go for it when I get the chance," and to refrain from trying to do too much.

Immediately following the match, Suarez Navarro withdrew from doubles competition, citing an injured left thigh. Meanwhile, Martina Hingis and CoCo Vandeweghe have reached the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open without playing a match. Nice work if you can get it! They had a bye in the first round, and in the second round, they received a walkover from Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson. Now, they get a walkover from Sara Errani and Suarez Navarro.

In the semifinals, the well-rested Hingis and Vandeweghe will play either King/Niculescu or Georges/Pliskova. If I were those four players, I'd be doing anything I could think of to guard against what seems to be an unpleasant trend among the opponents of the 4th seeds.

This morning, 15th seed Karolina Pliskova defeated 7th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Pliskova will play the winner of the match now being played by Garbine Muguruza and Timea Babos.

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