This is James of Moo’s Tennis Blog taking over the helm from Marija whilst she is away this weekend. Here is what happened in Saturday’s semi-finals in Doha.
Like Friday’s one-sided quarter-finals, Saturday featured two more straight set matches as Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep progressed through to the final of the WTA Premier event in Doha. Both Halep and Kerber had to work hard today as each came through one very competitive set of tennis. First into the final was Kerber, who defeated Jelena Jankovic, 6-1 7-6(6) in 1 hour and 47 minutes. Kerber strolled through the first set, winning 14 of the first 16 points, but was given a real battle in the second set. After Kerber failed to serve out the match at 6-1 5-4, the second set went into a tiebreak, which was both entertaining and dramatic. Eventually it was Kerber who sealed her place in the final on a net cord winner. Kerber and Jankovic are now 1-1 in 2014 encounters after Jankovic won their match in Brisbane earlier this year, 6-7(8) 6-3 6-1.
In the second semi-final, Halep defeated Agnieszka Radwanska, 7-5 6-2. Halep continued her superb form this week, which had seen her defeat Sara Errani, 6-2 6-0 in the quarter-finals. This was Halep’s second consecutive victory over the Pole having beaten her in Rome last year. The world number four, Radwanska had led 5-2 in the first set, but Halep, playing both smart and aggressive, won five straight games to claim the opening set and then powered through the second set to complete the victory in 1 hour and 27 minutes.
Halep and Kerber have played just once before in Saint Raphael in 2009 where Halep won in three sets. A great deal has changed since that last encounter with both players cracking the top ten. Neither player had ever been past the third round in Doha before, but the champion is guaranteed their most prestigious career title to date. (Photo: Moo’s Tennis Blog)