No. 2 seed Angie Kerber and former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka lined up a blockbuster semifinal on Wednesday at the Miami Open, with both players looking to reach a third final of the young 2016 season.
Kerber was a composed hitting wall against an erratic No. 22 seed Madison Keys, easily beating the American 6-3, 6-2 to reach her first career semifinal in Miami.
“It’s nice to play a match like this,” Kerber said after rolling over Keys. “I was feeling good. Madison is always a tough opponent. I know this because we had a lot of tough battles in the past. I knew that I must play very good to beat her because she played very well here in the last few matches. So it’s good. It’s good.”
Keys, who had recently parted with coach Mats Wilander after only eight days, sprayed 39 unforced errors, or more than two a game.
For Azarenka it will be a chance to revenge her defeat to Kerber in the Aussie Open quarterfinals.
Azarenka beat Brit Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-2, advancing toward a possible third career Miami Open title.
“I couldn’t actually get a read on her serve in the beginning,” Azarenka told ESPN afterwards of Konta. “It was tough for me to adjust — but then I got a bit lower and tried to get more returns in, be a bit more aggressive.”
Kerber was 0-6 career against Azarenka prior to the Aussie Open win.
“I went out there and trying to be really aggressive from the first point, trying to really believe in myself, because until this time I never won the match against her,” the German said. “It was 0-6; now it’s 1-6. I will try to go out there again like in Australia and try to believe in my game and myself and, yeah, trying to challenge her.”
Azarenka is trying to become only the third player to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back after Steffi Graf (1994 and 1996) and Kim Clijsters (2005).
Thursday’s semis will feature (15) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (19) Timea Bacsinszky, and (2) Angie Kerber vs. (13) Victoria Azarenka.
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