SYDNEY, Australia - Four months ago, Angelique Kerber crashed out of the US Open to Carla Suárez Navarro in heartbreaking fashion. She gained a modicum of revenge a few weeks later with victory over the Spaniard in Linz, and on Wednesday her payback mission continued at the Apia International Sydney on Wednesday.
Kerber has been in a rich vein of form this week and, despite the distraction of a rare Australian rain delay, there was no let-up against Suárez Navarro. An early break set the No.5 seed on her way and from there she never looked back, weathering some late resistance before booking her semifinal place with a 62 64 win after just an hour and a half on court.
"It was not easy and she's a great player and I tried to be focused from the first point and also after the rain, but I think I was playing very well tonight and I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Kerber said.
Her next opponent comes in the shape of Madison Keys, who enjoyed an easier-than-expected passage through, when Bethanie Mattek-Sands retired with a lower back injury whilst trailing 3-2 in the first set of their quarterfinal.
"She's a talented young player and I need to be ready from the first point and it will be another tough match," Kerber said when asked about Keys. "I'm feeling healthy, enjoying my tennis right now and looking forward to playing my next match."
Keys' only previous WTA semifinal came at the end of last season, in Osaka, where she lost a one-sided encounter with eventual champion Samantha Stosur. However, after a productive off-season, the American feels her game is in a better place at the start of 2014.
"I've been able to keep my cool in situations where maybe last year I wouldn't have done so well, which is something I've been working on, and I've also been plying the big points well," Keys said.