Wednesday, January 24, 2018

That's not the bush-birds you hear

It's the victorious yelling of German warrior Angelique Kerber. Or, conversely, it could be the cries of anguish coming from her opponents. Hsieh Su-wei gave the 2016 champion all kinds of trouble, but everything else has been fairly easy for Kerber. That includes today's quarterfinal, in which she defeated Madison Keys 6-1, 6-2 in 51 minutes. Keys was flat and uncertain, so it didn't take a lot of effort for Kerber to defeat her.

The former world number 1 has now won 14 straight matches, and--after a very disappointing 2017--she has now put herself back into the Australian Open semifinals, and she's done it in style. It's as though she suddenly remembered who she was, and then went on a rampage.

That rampage will have to remain strong in the semifinals, in which Kerber will face world number 1 Simona Halep, who played a clean, efficient quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova. The Tall Cool One led 3-0 in the opening set, then proceeded to lose nine games in a row. She then won her first game of the second set, but continued to be bossed around the court by Halep, who routinely changed the direction of the ball, leaving Pliskova a step behind. The Romanian won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.

The usually tense Halep has looked unusually relaxed and self-confident at this tournament. She often says that she's feeling relaxed, but her body language betrays her. This time, though, it feels real. There is every reason to excitedly anticipate the upcoming match between Halep and Kerber. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to it, but on the other, I confess that I find it hard to bear the thought of either of them losing. I really want both of them to win the Australian Open!

Of course, whoever wins that match still hasn't won the open, but will have to face either Elise Mertens or Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Wozniacki is the clear favorite in that match, but if Mertens continues to keep her nerves in check (perhaps doubtful in a semifinal) and brings her best service game (which is outstanding), she has a chance to upset the world number 2.


sunnynine said...

i am in the same boat you are in concerning halep v kerber. if only they had been on opposite sides of the draw. it is too difficult not to wish for halep to win given she has no major wins and also because she would retain her no 1 status. the media may shut up then and i won't have to listen. kerber has been amazing. just her confidence walking onto the court would put fear into the hears of her opponents. hold my breath through tomorrow. now i have to watch berdych and federer. as much as i enjoy cilic and berdych, i want federer to get his 20th. of course he will have to overcome the new hero, chung. 20 is a nice round number, what can i say. a lot over the next several days. just can't say how in sync the 2 women's QFs were today. both big-hitters, big-servers just melted, lost the plot, etc. weird.

Diane said...

I’m a huge Fed fan and never want Berdych to win, so that’s an easy one for me!
Yes, really a shame that Angie and Simona are on the same side of the draw—would have made a great final. I’ll be happy for either of them to win(and 🀞🏻for Elise).