10/27/2016

Kerber in the semi-finals

WTA Finals: The Porsche Brand Ambassador Angelique Kerber has also won her third group match and is the first German to reach the semi-­finals since Steffi Graf in 1998.

Everything is continuing to go to plan for Angelique Kerber at the prestigious tournament containing the season’s eight most successful players: Playing in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, she won 6-3, 6-3 against the American Madison Keys to secure the win in the Red Group having previously beaten the Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova (7-6, 2-6, 6-3) and the Romanian Simona Halep (6-4, 6-2). It means only two wins now separate her from winning the tennis crown.

“Reaching the semi-finals here was always my aim. That I’ve done it by topping the group is fantastic and gives me even more confidence,” said the 28-year old after her comfortable victory. Amongst the crowd, who gave her a standing ovation, were also the tennis legends Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Monica Seles. Earlier on in the year she beat Madison Keys - aged 21, the youngest player in Singapore – in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the semi-finals at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Her positive record against the American was not the only reason for the world No. 1 to go into her 79th match – 62 were wins – of the season in a relatively relaxed frame of mind. Having failed to progress past the group stage at her previous three WTA Finals appearances, Angelique Kerber became assured of a place in the penultimate round the moment Simona Halep lost the first set against Dominika Cibulkova in the day’s first match. “For me against Madison, it was naturally somewhat easier. But I tried not to think that I had already qualified. When I go out onto court, I want to win.”

Semi-final opponent could be Karolina Pliskova or Agnieszka Radwanska

Her semi-final opponent will be decided on the final day of matches in the White Group in the encounter between Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) and title-holder Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland). Only the Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who qualified for the season-ending tournament as the last player with her last-minute win in Moscow, is sure of a semi-final berth. Dominika Cibulkova is the other player to progress from the Red Group alongside Angelique Kerber.

Angelique Kerber does not mind who she plays when she goes out on court on Saturday. “I’m not thinking about it,” said the Australian Open and US Open champion who was voted “Player of the Year” by her fellow players. “There’ll be lots of long rallies against Agnieszka and I’ll need a lot of patience. I’ll also have to run a lot. Karolina has a very good serve and looks to end the point quickly. I’ll take it as it comes and will try to make the best of it. It’s been working out quite well for me here up until now.”

Julia Görges, Porsche Team Germany (l), Karolina Pliskova

The WTA Finals are however already over for Julia Görges, the Porsche Team Germany member. Partnered by Karolina Pliskova, she lost her opening match 6-4, 6-2 against the top-seeded Frenchwomen Caroline Garcia und Kristina Mladenovic – the winners of the 2016 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “I felt it was a good match on my part,” said Julia Görges who reached the semi-finals at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon with her partner. “Competing here in Singapore was for me personally a nice way to end the season.”

The WTA Finals – an overview

The WTA Finals were first played in 1972. Qualified are the year’s eight most successful players. They are split up into two round robin groups. The top two will contest the semi-finals. The final will take place on 30 October. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska is the title-holder. Total prize money amounts to seven million dollars. The singles draw served up the following groups: Red Group: Angelique Kerber (Germany), Simona Halep (Romania), Madison Keys (USA), Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia). White Group: Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), Garbine Muguruza (Spain) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia).

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