Azarenka vs. Kerber Miami Open semifinal: Karen reports from the grounds

After updating us about the semifinal between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Timea Bacsinszky straight from Miami, Karen Helf provides a summary of the second semifinal, the one between Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber.

Victoria Azarenka - 2016 BNP Paribas Open -DSC_2007

The second Miami Open women’s semifinal took place Thursday night, as No. 8 Victoria Azarenka took the court against current No. 3 Angelique Kerber. This two-set battle lasted just over 90 minutes with Victoria coming out on top 6-2, 7-5. The Belarusian advances to the Miami singles final where she will play No. 19 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Angelique Kerber 2016 Aussie Open

Head-to-head, Victoria had the edge, owning 6 wins of 7 meetings with Kerber. However, Angelique’s 2016 climb to No. 2 in February, along with her 2016 Grand Slam victory, made the playing field seem level. Kerber wore heavy taping on her thigh. Just weeks ago, Angelique pulled out of Dubai, citing a thigh injury. In press, Kerber indicated that the tape was more precautionary than indicative of a current physical problem.

Despite her 2016 Australian Open win, Angelique has thus far been unable to back up that success. Meanwhile Indian Wells champion Victoria has been making her return to form and clearly has her sights on the top spot. In press this week, she stated, "I am only interested in one number." Point made.

Victoria Azarenka - 2016 BNP Paribas Open -DSC_2055

First Set Recap – 39 Minutes

The two traded breaks early during their first service games. After that, Victoria dominated, going for aggressive shots, coming in and looking confident from any court position. She won the next four service games to go up 5-1. Kerber held to 5-2. Vika closed out her next service game and the set 6-2. Her first serve percentage was 76% and she only needed to play four service games to take the set. Her return stats were also strong, lending proof to the success of aggressive tactics.

Second Set Recap – 51 Minutes

The second set contained several momentum shifts. Kerber came out fighting, looking like the Australian Open champion. Both players held their first service games. After that they traded breaks of serve for the next five games. Both players were striking the ball well and placing shots in the corners and down the line. Victoria was also finding success coming to net.

Vika took back control in her fourth service game, capturing all points to go up 5-3. Angelique would not give up. She held her next service game and followed that up with a break to stay in the match at 5-4. Victoria’s next service game is one she would not doubt like to erase. With chances to close the set and match, she largely gave this game to Kerber with three double-faults. The score now 5-5. Victoria changed her racquet, perhaps to change her luck or break the pattern.

Angelique Kerber

Something did indeed shift. Victoria broke Angelique to go up 6-5. She successfully closed out her final service game, set and match. 6-2, 7-5. Victoria captured 74 points of the match total, 129.

Miami Open WTA Final

Svetlana Kuznetsova - Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2014-5

Tune in Saturday, April 2nd as Victoria takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova for the singles title. Both players are former Miami champions. Svetlana last won Miami in 2006, beating Amelie Mauresmo in the semifinals and Maria Sharapova in the final, while Victoria won in 2011, also beating Maria in the final.

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2 thoughts on “Azarenka vs. Kerber Miami Open semifinal: Karen reports from the grounds

  1. Ian

    Glad to see Kuznetsova back on form, i hope she beat Vika, cause personally Vika is one of my least fav player.

    Dear Marija, can u reply/opinion/thoughts to my comments for the Venus Williams RG dress from few of the prev posts, n Maria's dress too… 🙂

    Thank u..

  2. Karen Helf Post author

    Hello Ian,

    Personall feelings aside, Vika is playing great tennis. She is motivated and has significant self-belief. Likely she will continue to be a tough competitor as the clay season begins. However, clay has not been her most successful surface. As of April 4th she sits at the No. 5 spot and is only 301 points away from No. 4 currently held by Garbine Muguruza.

    I do believe Svetlana will be a force on the WTA for as long as she continues to play.

    Interestingly, Victoria lost at the French Open in 2008 to your guessed it, Svetlana in the round of 16. and in the Rome semi-final in 2009.

    The only clay titles I could find for Victoria are the smaller events below.
    MARBELLA SPAIN // 04-Apr-2011

    PETANGE LUXEMBOURG // 19-Jul-2005 /

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