Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber has booked a big-match clash with local star Ash Barty after extending her winning streak to eight matches on Friday night.
The German tamed Camila Giorgi 6-2 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Sydney International, ending the Italian qualifier’s run of six wins in the Harbour City.
“I’m really feeling good. It’s just the beginning of the year, and to reaching the first final, my first tournament — actually, I mean, I played the Hopman Cup, but it was not an (official) tournament,” Kerber said.
“So, yeah, I’m feeling good and I have, for sure, a lot of confidence. The goal was to have a lot of matches before going to Melbourne, and I think, yeah, it works.”
After initially struggling to get a read on Giorgi’s first-strike style, the two-time major champion settled into the contest and had the defensive skills and strength to hang wiht the free-hitting Italian.
Giorgi, who up until this point had not dropped a set in Sydney in 2018, started to press as she discovered all her shots coming back at her with added sting.
Kerber sealed the first set in a touch over half an hour but quickly fell behind 0-3 in the second, banging her legs in frustration with her racquet.
But she said she was not suffering from her heavy schedule of matches to open the season.
“I’m feeling physically not bad. Of course, I had a lot of matches, and the weather conditions are also every day a little bit different, but I think that when I was down 3-0, I was just not playing like I played in the first set. I was a little bit too defensive,” she admitted.
“Then I start to being again more aggressive, playing actually a little bit deeper and moving good.”
Indeed, Kerber raced through the next six games unimpeded, sealing victory when Giorgi fired a shot long.
Barty awaits, having just recently won their last clash at the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
“Of course the match against Ash or the matches in Zhuhai was not my best where I was playing my best tennis, and I really forgot about this tournament so far, so I’m just looking forward,” said Kerber, who won her only other meeting with Barty in Brisbane a year ago.
“Ash is a great player. She played unbelievable last year. I played the last match of 2017 against her, so it was not so long ago. I know what to expect.
“I’m looking forward for the final. I think I will try to enjoy it, as well, but also going out, focusing on my game like I did it in the last few days, and just trying, of course being aggressive and trying to win another match here.”