AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Top seed Serena Williams soared into the semifinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland after a solid straight sets performance against the tricky Laura Siegemund.
Coming into Auckland, Serena’s main goal was to win more than one match, after a 2017 appearance was cut short in the second round. Now she’s scored solid wins over Camila Giorgi, Christina McHale and Siegemund to reach her first final four of the year.
“It was good for me to just fight, you know,” Serena told press afterward. “She has a really good game, and she stepped up and hit a lot of good winners, so it wasn’t really easy. I just had to step up and play a little better, and hopefully get through it.
After a tight opening set, Serena found herself down a break in the second, but rallied back to win 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and a half. The 23-time Grand Slam winner struck 26 winners to Siegemund’s 20, and outpaced her six aces to one.
Serena stayed collected under the swirling conditions, weathering an opponent with a penchant for disrupting rallies with variety and touch.
“You try to have a more positive attitude, but I got a little negative at the end. It was just so windy,” Serena told press. “But I like running down dropshots, so I don’t mind playing against players who hit dropshots. I’m very fast, especially moving forward. It’s one of my strengths, so I actually don’t mind it.”
While the win sent her into the semifinals in singles, Serena is already in the doubles semifinals after a successful run with good friend Caroline Wozniacki. It raised her tally to six victories under her belt this week - the perfect preparation for the Australian Open, where Serena will kick off her campaign for a 24th Grand Slam crown.
“I definitely feel that [I’m starting to get into good shape for the Australian Open], and I feel like my match yesterday [against McHale] was great” Serena said. “It’s great that I went three sets, and it’s great that I ran so much. I came out today just overall feeling better and doing better.
“Especially the match fitness - I’m super fit, but match fitness is a little different, so I think all these matches are really helping.”
Up next, Serena awaits the winner between No.3 seed Amanda Anisimova or Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the semifinals.
More to follow….