The champion in 2016, Angelique Kerber didn’t really come into the tournament as one of the top favourites to win it all but is now very much a legitimate contender going into the last 8 although the draw still remains tough for her. She may have to beat two of the best power hitters in the game to win it all with Karolina Pliskova possibly up in the final 4 if the German were to beat Madison Keys.
Watch the Kerber vs Keys Live Here.
Keys has not played many matches since her disappointing US Open final loss and looked shaky in warmup tournaments. That has all changed coming into Melbourne with 4 comfortable straight sets victories to get this far. While the first three were against opponents you expect that result from, the ease with which the American crushed Caroline Garcia should definitely put the rest of the field on high alert. She hit 32 winners while breaking 5 times in the 6-3 6-2 win but still believes there is more she can do on court. “I feel like I’m playing just solid, consistent tennis. I think today was a good example of that. I think I served well. I think I returned well.” she said. “But I don’t think I played unbelievable. I think I just played really solid and smart.”
Kerber managed to avoid going the same way as Agnieszka Radwanska and Johanna Konta, toughing out a three set victory against Su Wei Hsieh round four. The unseeded player had been making waves in the tournament and another shock looked on the cards with Hsieh as close as a game to victory but Kerber stepped it up right when it was needed most, breaking 4 straight times from 5-5 in the second set to take over the match. It’s now 9 straight competitive victories for Kerber, who finally looks like she back after a disappointed 2017. “I’m feeling good. I’m fit, and physically, mentally, I’m feeling really confident and very good. But let’s see what a year will bring. I just enjoy my tennis again, and I think this is the most important thing for me when I’m on court that I fight, that I play my game” she said.
Keys will offer a completely different style to the variety Hsieh offered but it’s one that Kerber has dealt well with in the past. She is 6-1 against Keys, including 1 win at this event 5 years ago over a far less experienced opponent.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in three sets