Halep rides on aggression

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Jan 2018 09:59:33


 

MELBURNE,

WORLD number one Simona Halep set up an Australian Open final against Caroline Wozniacki after a thrilling 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 battle past former champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday.
In a see-sawing contest, Halep sprinted into a 6-3, 3-1 lead before the 2016 Melbourne Park winner, seeded 21, fought back.
The Romanian finally prevailed in 2hr 20min with her fourth match point to ensure a new name will grace the trophy on Saturday.


“Definitely was very tough. I’m shaking now. I’m really emotional right now because I won this match,” said Halep, who saved two match points.
“I knew it was going to be tough. She is hitting from everywhere, I’m glad I could resist. Thank you everyone for supporting me, you helped me.”
Halep scampered to the first set in 25 minutes and, after dropping the second set against the run of play, squandered two match points in the third before saving two from Kerber as she served for the match at 6-5.
“I said if she come back I could do it. I had confidence in myself,” said Halep.


“I tried to be calm today. It was a rollercoaster, up and down.
If you don’t give up you can
win. I did it well. I am proud of myself.”
There was little hint of the drama to come when Halep, whose Grand Slam best is twice runner-up at Roland Garros, flew out of the blocks and dropped just three points in taking a 5-0 lead before Kerber woke up.
The German broke back twice to 5-3, before Halep, scampering and retrieving everything the double Grand Slam champion threw at her, regrouped and took Kerber’s next service game to seal the set in 25 minutes.


Halep was in front at 3-1 in the second but Kerber, who will get back into the top 10 after her run at Melbourne, would not give up and extended it to a decider.
The win sets up an intriguing final where a first Grand Slam title and the world number one ranking will be on the line for both Halep and Wozniacki, with the winner claiming both.


Federer wishes ‘friend’ Rafa speedy recovery
ROGER Federer and Rafael Nadal might be arch-rivals on court but off it they are good friends and the compassionate Swiss star has been worried about the injured world number one.


The gutted Spaniard was forced to retire with a hip problem early in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarter-final against sixth seed Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
It deprived the opening Grand Slam of the year of a potential rematch of the vintage 2017 final where Federer beat Nadal in a heart-stopping five-setter.
Federer said it hard to see Nadal’s campaign end that way and the last thing he did before falling asleep on Tuesday evening ahead of his own quarter-final against Tomas Berdych was reach out to his friend.


“It’s hard to watch someone go out in five sets and not being able to finish,” he said of seeing Nadal struggle.
“I wrote Rafa late last night (Tuesday) before I went to bed. Last thing I did. I said I have to write Rafa and see how he’s doing.”
“I was hoping he was going to be OK with the scan, hoping the news was not terrible.
“It was not nice to see a fellow rival and friend like this go out. Wish him well,” he added of the 16-time Grand Slam champion.


Fortunately for Nadal, a scan showed only a torn inner hip
muscle and not something more serious, and he is expected to be back in action in three to four weeks.
Federer’s selflessness was hailed by former star James Blake, who said the Swiss maestro was the only player who wrote to him when he suffered a serious injury in 2004.


“I got one note from a player in the hospital when I broke my neck. Roger Federer. Tennis is lucky to have such an amazing ambassador for the game,” the American tweeted.
Federer plays fast-rising South Korean Chung Hyeon on Friday for a place in the Melbourne Park final as he chases a 20th Grand Slam title.