Saturday 1 October 2016

Angelique Kerber defeats Simona Halep to reach final four at Wimbledon

Eleanor Crooks

Published 05/07/2016 | 15:41

Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates winning her match against Romania's Simona Halep. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates winning her match against Romania's Simona Halep. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Angelique Kerber is two victories away from a second grand slam title in 2016 after defeating Simona Halep to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

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The German has been up and down since shocking Serena Williams in the final of the Australian Open but has been back on top form since the start of Wimbledon and deserved her 7-5 7-6 (7/2) victory.

Kerber has flown a little under the radar so far but is the only woman left in the draw not to have dropped a set.

This was the most intriguing match-up of the quarter-finals and both women struggled to hold serve in the opening set on Centre Court.

From 1-0, there were eight successive breaks, although no shortage of brilliant rallies, only for Halep to hold serve and make it 5-5.

She could not force a tie-break, though, with Kerber reaping the benefits of being the more aggressive player.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Kerber serving for the match at 5-3 only for Halep to break and then hold, and this time the fifth seed did hold on for a tie-break.

But Kerber opened up an early lead and did not let it go. A fortunate net cord gave her four match points, and she took the first when Halep hit a backhand wide.

It will be Kerber's second appearance in the Wimbledon semi-finals after defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska in the last four in 2012.

She told the BBC: "I think we both played a really good match. I'm really happy that I won it because it was really close.

"I'm feeling really good. I'm just enjoying every day here and I'm so happy to be in the semis. I think I'm playing my best tennis right now and I hope I can play a few more matches here."

Dominika Cibulkova does not need to postpone her wedding on Saturday after losing 6-2 6-2 to Elena Vesnina.

Cibulkova booked her wedding to Miso Navara in Bratislava for the day of the women's final, not expecting to be in contention.

She said after beating Agnieszka Radwanska in a titanic struggle in round four that she would postpone if she reached the semi-finals.

But the clash with Radwanska, which the Slovakian described as the toughest match of her career, appeared to have taken a lot out of her and she was never in contention against Vesnina.

The 29-year-old Russian, who next meets Serena Williams, is a two-time grand slam winner in doubles but had never previously reached the last four in singles.

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