Ker­ber keeps her cool, reaches semis

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Howard Fendrich

NEW YORK — At 4-all in the open­ing set of her U.S. Open quar­ter­fi­nal Tues­day, An­gelique Ker­ber no­ticed the loud roar of a jet fly­ing past.

She missed a shot, lost that point, glared over­head — then fol­lowed with a trio of un­forced er­rors to get bro­ken. In the past, that se­quence might have been her un­do­ing.

Not now. Ker­ber’s game has im­proved and so has her at­ti­tude. On this af­ter­noon, she wouldn’t drop an­other game.

Mak­ing a push to move up from No. 2 in the rank­ings and earn a sec­ond Grand Slam ti­tle in 2016, Ker­ber moved into the semi­fi­nals at Flush­ing Mead­ows by tak­ing the last nine games in a 7-5, 6-0 vic­tory over Roberta Vinci, last year’s run­ner-up.

“I know that I can beat every­body,” Ker­ber said. “I’m stay­ing more pos­i­tive and be­liev­ing in my game, and this is what gives me a lot of con­fi­dence and mo­ti­va­tion.”

“I was play­ing bet­ter than her,” Vinci said, “(But) in tough mo­ments, the mind is im­por­tant.”

Ker­ber has a chance to over­take Ser­ena Wil­liams at No. 1 af­ter the tour­na­ment as she reached her third ma­jor semi­fi­nal of the year, which will be played Thurs­day against ei­ther Caro­line Woz­ni­acki or Anas­tasija Sev­as­tova.

Ker­ber beat Wil­liams in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal in Jan­uary, then lost to her in the Wim­ble­don fi­nal in July. In 2015, Vinci reached her first ma­jor fi­nal by end­ing Wil­liams’ bid for the first cal­en­dar-year Grand Slam in ten­nis in more than 25 years.

In a men’s quar­ter­fi­nal match, Gael Mon­fils scored a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 vic­tory over Lu­cas Pouille, the man who elim­i­nated Rafael Nadal in the pre­vi­ous round.

Mon­fils, who turned 30 last week, only once be­fore made it to a Grand Slam semi­fi­nal, 81⁄ years ago in front of a par­ti­san crowd at the French Open. But he has been play­ing the best ten­nis of his ca­reer lately, win­ning all 15 sets he’s played dur­ing this tour­na­ment.

“It’s a court I love,” he said. “I al­ways say that the French is my home, but this one is my sec­ond.”

MIKE STOBE/GETTY

Af­ter a slow start Tues­day, An­gelique Ker­ber got on a roll against Roberta Vinci and won their quar­ter­fi­nal match.

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