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Halep cruises into final four

25 January 2018

The two-time French Open finalist moves on to the semifinals where she will play Angelique Kerber after the German eliminated American Madison Keys 6-1, 6-2. Halep has won 11 straight matches on hard court. Pliskova enjoyed a bright start to the match, breaking Halep and consolidating to go 3-0 up. But I've started to like this tournament, too.

"Then I got used to the rhythm". "I mean, it feels the same", said Kerber, who is now guaranteed a return to top 10 in rankings.

"I knew what to expect", Kerber told reporters after the blowout. "This is always my game, and the last few weeks I have tried to improve on it". I have to b ready in my legs and be calm. "I think there is couple of, you know, moments and points where I can for sure play better".

Halep played error-free tennis, committing only ten unforced errors to Pliskova's 28 and was superb from the baseline, using her speed and grit to defend many of Pliskova's powerful groundstrokes.

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"My serve is not that effective on her", said the Czech who fell to 1-6 against Halep. Her turn of speed and ability to turn that defence into offence is key to her game strategy, but can she match the variety that Mertens can bring at the net? In her match against an ailing Elina Svitolina she dominated from the badeline, and can do a lot of damage with her forehand, not to mention her stronger backhand. "I had similar situations in the past where I found myself struggling a little bit with some injuries during the match, then I managed to win. That gives me a lot of confidence to coming here", Kerber, the last Grand Slam champion remaining in the women's draw, told reporters in Melbourne.

Kerber is a tough matchup for Keys even on a good day.

"I was just trying from the beginning to play like I played the whole week just playing my game and enjoying playing on Rod Laver", Kerber said.

For Keys the final indignity came as, serving to stay in the tournament, she opened with back-to-back double faults.

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Facing Kerber did not look like much fun for Keys on Wednesday. "I just have to believe in myself and still have energy left to do great stuff".

And it sets up a blockbuster showdown with the unbeaten-in-2018 Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion.

Pliskova will meet top seed Simona Halep for a place in the semi-finals. It's taken Wozniacki, the No. 2 seed who has never won a major, seven years to get back to the semifinals at Melbourne Park. At her best, she ends many of her points with clean winners or shots that bounce off her opponent's racket. It's going to be about me.

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Halep cruises into final four