Never before in their six previous matches had Angelique Kerber defeated Victoria Azarenka, but in Wednesday’s Australian Open quarterfinals the German displayed outstanding level of tennis and recorded a 6-3 7-5 victory to join Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis.
The seventh-seeded Kerber was the first to take charge in the match, racing to a 4-0 lead, and even though Azarenka almost leveled to 4-4, having multiple break points in the eighth game that featured at least five deuces, Kerber fought to hold her serve to lead 5-3, and after quite a battle in the next game, the set was hers.
Kerber started the second set by dropping serve and it was the 14th-seeded Azarenka who progressed through to 5-2, but Kerber impressively won five straight games, saving five set points on the way, to take the set and hence the match against the Belarusian who has been rock solid this year, never before in 2016 losing more than four games in a set and beating Kerber in the Brisbane final earlier in January.
Now we’re waiting to get the last Australian Open semifinalist, in the match between surprise members of the final eight Johanna Konta and Zhang Shuai. One of them will be Kerber’s next opponent.