Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep Ease into Australian Open Semis
(January 24, 2018) Former champion Angelique Kerber defeated Madison Keys 6-1, 6-2 and No. 1 Simona Halep beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
“It’s always tough to play against Madison,” the German said in her on-court interview. “She’s hitting the ball so hard, the serve is also really fast, so I was just trying from the beginning, like I played the whole week, just going out there, playing my game and enjoying it.”
“Madison is a hard hitter, and she served good,” said the former No. 1 in her news conference. “So I was trying to playing from the first point aggressive and moving good and also bringing a lot of balls back.
“I think this is always my game the last few weeks that I tried to improve, and this was also the plan today, I mean, going out there, trying to, yeah, taking the match in my hands.
“I’m feeling the ball really good, and I was enjoying the match. I was going out there and trying to playing my tennis again. Yeah, it was a good feeling again.”
“I think she played really well,” said Keys. “I felt like I was trying different things but I wasn’t playing very consistent.
“I think in the first set I played really passive, and because of that I feel like I wasn’t moving as well, wasn’t accelerating.
“So I wasn’t very happy with how I played today, but still, I was fighting and trying to stay in the match. Sometimes you just don’t play very well out there.”
“She obviously is amazing at getting lots of balls back and makes you feel like you have to go for bigger shots than you would against other players, because, you know, she’s going to get two, three more balls.
“For me, it’s trying to find the balance of playing consistent but being aggressive and still trying to take time away and not kind of letting her dictate my game.”
The 21st seed will play the winner of the match between No. 1 Simona Halep No. 6 Karolina Pliskova.
Asked about playing both women, she said:” I think both are completely different player completely. I think if I play against Simona, I think it will be a long match with a lot of long rallies. I played against her a lot of times, and it was always tough and close.
“But also against Karolina, I think it will be like maybe a little bit like today, the game, a big serve, hitting hard. You know, at the end, it’s the same, like I said, the whole week. It doesn’t matter against who I play. I’m in the semis right now, and I will try to continue how I play, and this is, for me, the most important thing.”
Kerber is the lone major winner left in the women’s singles draw.
In the other semifinal, Pliskova won the first three games of the match, Halep won the next nine straight games, 12 of the next fourteen for the win.
“I think was a great match,” said the Romanian. “The best this tournament. I started slow a little bit. Then I got used to the rhythm. I got used to everything. I played very well.”
”For sure is going to be a second marathon this tournament,“ Halep said of her upcoming match against Kerber. ”But I‘m used to that. I know her pretty well. I know she’s very strong opponent, very strong player.
”But I started to like this tournament. After two years in a row losing in the first round, now it’s a better result.”
“I’m not thinking about the result. It’s really tough to think about that because of all the things that I had. Now I’m just trying to play everything I have and to play the best to win it.”
Halep has a 4-4 record against Kerber.