Angie Kerber wants the No. 1 ranking, and she will get it if she wins the US Open.
On Tuesday she made a statement, bageling the player who last year ended Serena Williams’ streak for a calendar-year Grand Slam at the US Open. The German beat Roberta Vinci 7-5, 6-0 to move into the semifinals at the US Open.
Vinci’s slicing, dicing, off-putting game gave Kerber fits in the first set, soliciting 20+ unforced errors before the German was able to put away the opener 7-5. With a set and confidence under her belt, Kerber let it flow in the second set, dictating play while committing only two unforced errors en route to a 6-0 bagel.
“I think the key of the match was the first set,” said Kerber, broken three times in the first set, and breaking it down for any media members that couldn’t read the scoreline. “I think in the second set, what I did good [was] that I played the first few games really tough so that I was up 3-0 very fast. Then I could continue my good play, yeah, in the next few games.”
Now in the semis, Kerber is one match away from facing Serena Williams for a blockbuster final that would determine who exits the US Open with the No. 1 ranking.
In the semis Kerber will meet an opponent familiar with being on top of the world — Caroline Wozniacki, who has had a terrible injury-plagued year in 2016 with a ranking currently outside the Top 70, but this fortnight dialing back the clock to the years she reigned at No. 1.
Following up on an upset of No. 8 Madison Keys in the round of 16, Wozniacki on Tuesday in the quarters pummeled fellow unseeded player Anastsija Sevastova 6-0, 6-2.
“It’s amazing to be back here,” said Wozniacki, the world No. 1 five years ago. “I have always believed in myself whatever my ranking.”
The match was virtually over for Sevastova in the first set after she fell in the second game, needing a tape job on her right ankle, then losing it emotionally the remainder of the match.
“I felt real sorry for her,” said Wozniacki, who didn’t sound exceptionally sorry. “I kept pushing her back and making her run.”
The Woz trails Kerber 5-7 in their career meetings, and Kerber won their most recent encounter in Beijing last year.
Kerber and Wozniacki play similar games, but the power edge goes to Kerber.
“Caroline is always a tough opponent,” said Kerber, stressing her first-hand knowledge. “I know this. We know each other very well…it will be great match for sure. I know how she is playing. She is strong again. She had great wins here. So it will be a good semis.”
It will be Serena’s turn on Wednesday in Flushing Meadows as the world No. 1 faces No. 5 Simona Halep in their quarterfinals, with No. 10 Karolina Pliskova also squaring off against unseeded Croat breakout teen Ana Konjuh.
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