Venus downs An­gelique for semis clash with Jo­hanna

New Straits Times - - Sport -

MI­AMI: Venus Wil­liams rolled back the years to send World No 1 An­gelique Ker­ber crash­ing out of the Mi­ami Open on Wed­nes­day and ad­vance to a semi-fi­nal show­down with Bri­tain’s Jo­hanna Konta.

Venus, at 36 the old­est woman in the field, downed An­gelique in straight sets, win­ning 7-5, 6-3 while Jo­hanna fought back to beat Ro­ma­nia’s Si­mon Halep 3-6, 7-6(9/7), 6-2.

Both re­sults had the el­e­ment of sur­prise about them with An­gelique the top seed and Si­mona the third and in good form, but they set up what should be a fas­ci­nat­ing con­test.

The other semi-fi­nal pits Den­mark’s Caro­line Woz­ni­acki against sec­ond-seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Repub­lic.

With the lo­cal crowd be­hind her, Venus — a three-time win­ner at Mi­ami — clearly be­lieved she could top­ple the German but the first set saw both play­ers strug­gle to hold their serves.

The Amer­i­can broke An­gelique four times while Venus failed to hold serve twice, but the con­test was more one-sided in the sec­ond set.

Venus raced to a 4-1 lead be­fore An­gelique broke back and started to pro­duce some great shots as she bat­tled in vain to save the match.

“It was an in­ter­est­ing match. I was con­trol­ling it. I had more er­rors than I like and lower first serve per­cent­age than I would like,” said Venus.

“I have to play well against the num­ber one in the world. She’s on top of her game and she played well, so I had to find a way to play a lit­tle bet­ter,” added the Amer­i­can.

An­gelique has yet to win a tour­na­ment this year and most re­cently went out in the round of 16 in In­dian Wells.

“This wasn’t the best start I would have wished for, but it’s not a drama be­cause I’m still play­ing good and win­ning matches. I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing again,” she said.

“It wasn’t my best game, but she de­served to win be­cause she played re­ally well tonight,” added the German.

Jo­hanna’s vic­tory over made her the first Bri­tish woman to reach the last four at Mi­ami.

“I’m re­ally happy that I’ve come through and I am just look­ing for­ward to my next round — it’s go­ing to be a tough one,” said Jo­hanna.

Si­mona set­tled well in the open­ing set, with her pow­er­ful fore­hand dom­i­nant, but Jo­hanna fought back well in the sec­ond.

The Aus­tralia-born Jo­hanna broke early to es­tab­lish a 3-0 lead but the gritty Ro­ma­nian clawed her way back win­ning the next three games while her op­po­nent failed to make the most of her open­ings in what was an er­rorstrewn con­test.

Noneth­less, Jo­hanna stuck at her task and was able to break again when Si­mona was serv­ing for the match and force a tiebreak which she even­tu­ally won 9-7 to take the pair into the third game.

There was a tense dis­cus­sion be­tween Si­mona and her Aus­tralian coach Dar­ren Cahill.

Jo­hanna broke in the fifth game of the de­cid­ing set and vis­i­bly grow­ing in con­fi­dence she broke again to take a 5-2 lead and serve out for the match. AFP

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