DUBAI, UAE - No.6 seed seed Angelique Kerber never faced a break point in nine service games over the course of a 6-4, 6-3 victory against No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
An early break in each set helped set the tone for the match, and Kerber took care of her service games for the duration after moving into the lead.
The World No.9 lost just eight points behind her first serve in the match, served three aces - including one on a second serve - and won at least 70% of the points behind both her first and second deliveries in the match.
"I think that I was playing quite good today, especially I served well," Kerber said. "I think that was at the end the key for the match. I know what to expect, all that. She hit the ball really hard, serving good. I was trying to play good returns back, then just playing my game."
After breaking in the first game of the second set to seize control, with help from a pair of double faults from the usually sure-serving Czech, the German later sealed victory in one hour, 15 minutes on a running backhand passing shot - her 16th winner of the match.
Kerber improved her record on the season to 15-2, and has reached at least the quarterfinals in four events this season.
"I have much more confidence than when I started the year, where I actually had no idea where I am, especially after last year," the German assessed. "I have already so many matches on my belt, so that gives me much more match confidence.
"I'm trying to playing every single match my best, trying to going out there and just thinking about the next match, the next point."
After her third straight win, and seventh in 10 meetings against the Czech No.1, Kerber will face defending champion and top seed Elina Svitolina in the last four for the second straight year.
"I think it will be a rematch. We played last year also in the semis. She played unbelievable last year and still has a lot of confidence, especially here where she won last year," Kerber said.
"It will be a tough match. She's bringing a lot of balls back, playing good tennis, moving good. I think it will be a close and tough match tomorrow."