Sydney - Germany's Angelique Kerber won a seventh straight
match as she steamed into the semi-finals of the Sydney International on
Thursday boosting her confidence for next week's Australian Open.
Kerber, who began last year as No.1 before finishing at No
22, continued her 2018 resurgence with a thumping 6-3, 6-1 win over Slovakia
The German will meet Italian qualifier and world No 100
Camila Giorgi, who upset Poland's former world No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1,
It is an impressive start to the new year for Kerber, having
won her four matches at last week's mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth before her
three victories in Sydney.
"This start is not bad for 2018, for sure. Still, I'm
just trying to focus on every match, trying to learn from every single
match," Kerber said.
"Being now in the semis again here, it's really a good
feeling, especially that I had the goal, to have a lot of matches before going
Kerber, who knocked out Venus Williams in her opening match
in Sydney, said she was not yet back to her best form of 2016 when she won the
Australian and US Opens.
"It's just the beginning of the year, so it's tough to
say. But I'm feeling good - I'm healthy. I was working hard in the last few
weeks," Kerber said.
"So now, I just am trying to playing like I played
years before and enjoying it again."
The other semi-final will be an all-Australian affair
between Ashleigh Barty and Daria Gavrilova.
Barty, ranked nineteenth, cruised past Barbora Strycova 6-3,
6-2, while 25th-ranked Gavrilova had direct passage to the last four when
Spain's Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza withdrew after her win over Kiki
Bertens with a thigh injury.
"For us, it's perfect. We can go out and have a really
good match, go hard at each other, and still shake hands, have a hug at the end
of the match, and wish each other the best," Barty said.
Defending champion Gilles Muller was knocked out of the
Sydney International men's event by unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4.
The 42nd-ranked Paire will meet rising young Australian star
Alex de Minaur, who downed Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the night match, 6-4,
Paire sent down 17 aces against the world No 25 to advance
to his second semi-final in a week, after reaching the last four in India.
Italian fourth seed Fabio Fognini set up a semi-final
against qualifier Daniil Medvedev following a 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-4), 6-2
marathon against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
Medvedev is eyeing off his first career title after toppling
veteran Italian Paulo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3.
Collated results from the ATP/WTA Sydney International on Thursday (x denotes seed):
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) bt Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) 6-3, 6-3
Fabio Fognini (ITA x4) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA x5) 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2
Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Gilles Muller (LUX x2) 6-4, 6-4
Alex de Minaur (AUS) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-4, 6-4
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 6-3, 6-2
Angelique Kerber (GER) bt Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 6-3, 6-1
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 6-1, 6-2