Australian Open 2018: Angelique Kerber beats Madison Keys to reach semifinals

Melbourne: Former champion Angelique Kerber signalled her intent to wrest back the Australian Open title as she brutally crushed US Open finalist Madison Keys today to reach the semi-finals. The 2016 winner, seeded 21, brushed aside the American17th seed 6-1, 6-2, breaking her much-vaunted serve at will as she triumphed in 51 one-sided minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

“It’s always tough to play against Madison,” said Kerber, who also won the US Open in 2016. “She is hitting the ball so hard and I was just trying from the beginning, like I played the whole week, just to playmy game. “I love playing in Australia and on Rod Laver Arena. Ihave so many good memories here.” The match was billed as a classic contrast of styles, thebig-serving power game of Keys versus the scurrying, chase-everything-down, all-action approach of Kerber. For Keys so much depends on the serve, which is aformidable weapon.

When on song it sets up the American’s power game as inher last-16 match when she blew away Caroline Garcia with 32winners on the back of nine aces. But on Wednesday Kerber negated it from the off, winning57 percent of points on Keys’ first serve. And, without a plan B, Keys was broken four times in anerror-riddled five games as the German raced to the first set6-1 in 22 minutes and went 3-1 up in the second. “I was not thinking a lot about winners or errors, I wasstaying in the moment and tried to play every single point, “Kerber said.

“I’m just happy to get through and be here in the semis.” Keys, who reached the semi-finals at Melbourne in 2015 ,momentarily held back the tide with a break to love to getback to 3-2. But the German juggernaut rolled on with a break back anda dominant hold, sealed with a tremendous overhead from nearthe baseline, to give Kerber a 5-2 advantage. Keys, serving to stay in the tournament, opened with twodouble faults and moments later Kerber was back in the semi-finals where she will face either top seed Simona Halep orsixth seed Karolina Pliskova.