For the first time since the 2014 Australian Open, there is a possibility that the Ladies’ final will be played between the No.1 and No.2 seed. Caroline Wozniacki is favoured to win her match while No.1 Simona Halep plays Angelique Kerber in the other.
Kerber is nowhere near in the hunt for her previous No.1 ranking but her good form to begin 2018 sees her returning to the top 10, regardless of the result in this match. Something definitely seems to have clicked for her again after a whole host of disappointing losses throughout 2017. She picked apart the Madison Keys game at will in their quarter final meeting, breaking 6 times in the 6-1 6-2 victory. The American’s power could not break down the great counterpunching offered by her opponent on the opposite side. “Madison is a hard hitter, and she served good. So I was trying to playing from the first point aggressive and moving good and also bringing a lot of balls back.
I think this is always my game the last few weeks that I tried to improve, and this was also the plan today, taking the match in my hands.” she said.
Halep had a similarly easy time in the quarter finals, winning 12 of the last 14 games to advance over Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2. Going up 3-0, the Czech had a quick start was soon pegged back and it reverted the pattern of previous matches where Halep often had comfortable wins. “I can say I can read her game a little bit better. But still every match is difficult. You never know with her because she has crazy good shots sometimes and also the serve. But, yeah, like I said, I read her serve many times today. I just was very strong on the return. I think that’s why I could start to dominate the game.” Halep said. She won 15 of 22 points on her opponent’s second serve, a good part of why she managed to break 5 times.
Halep will not be playing a similarly aggressive hitter in this match and will have to adapt accordingly against a player in just as good form as she is. They did not meet last year but 2016’s five meetings suggest that the tide turned during Kerber’s career year. The German was 4-1 in that year, with all of her wins coming in straight sets. The lone loss was a three setter in Montreal. The bookmakers have Kerber as a marginal favourite and that seems fair although it definitely has the feel of a close one.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in three sets