World No.1 Simona Halep and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber are joining Caroline Wozniacki and Elise Mertens in the semifinals of the Australian Open, so all the members of the final four have played a WTA final in 2018 (Halep won Shenzhen, Kerber won Sydney, Mertens won Hobart and Wozniacki finished runner-up in Auckland).
The 21st-seeded Kerber needed just 51 minutes to dispatch Madison Keys 6-1 6-2. After serving 26 aces en route to the quarterfinals, the 17th-seeded Keys hit none against Kerber and won just 18 of 46 points on her serve. The match started with Keys’ eight unforced errors in the first three games and the fact that Kerber, who has now ensured a return to the Top 10, knows her game well further diminished the American’s chances.
In the last semifinal, the top-seeded Halep overcame a very slow start to defeat Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2. Finding herself 0-3 and a break point down in the first set, Halep finally took control and after four deuces managed to hold serve and get on the board. The fired-up Halep had no competitor in Pliskova any more, as the sixth-seeded Czech won less than 50% on her own serve.