Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Kerber upsets Azarenka

Day 10 and the remaining quarter finals.  First up was the third women's quarter final between 7th seed Angelique Kerber and 14th seed Vika Azarenka.  The two last played as recently as in the Brisbane final a matter of weeks ago.  Vika won easily and it was the sixth win out of the six times they had met.

So Angie needed something special to upset one of the two most in form players of the tournament.

Vika served first.  Two Vika backhands wide and 0-30.  A forehand just as wide and three break points. A final forehand wide and Kerber had the break to lead 1-0. Azarenka had missed all her shots on the same side and Angie had been rock solid in each of the rallies, a couple which were lengthy.

A backhand pass from Kerber received a backhand return winner in reply from Azarenka for 15-15.  A forehand from Vika produced a Kerber error but a netted error from Azarenka made it 30-30.  A winning Vika  backhand created a break point which was saved.  Angie held serve and led 2-0.

Azarenka's backhand found the net. Her forehand set up a volley winner and 15-15.  A backhand down the line was more like Azarenka form and she led 30-15.  A forehand from Kerber forced an error and it was break point. Saved by a serve backhand combination.  A forehand return winner and another break point.  Saved by backhand winner crosscourt. A brilliant forehand by Kerber to end a superb rally set up a third break chance.  A double fault and to everyone's amazement, Azarenka trailed 3-0 and two service breaks.

A winning forehand down the line by Kerber and later a forehand crosscourt winner gave her 30-15.  An ace and another forehand crosscourt winner assisted Kerber to a 4-0 advantage.  Azarenka was way out of contention for the set and her inconsistency continued 0-30 with errors flowing off her racquet. 15-30 became 30-30 with a rare Kerber netted shot.  Another netted return and an error from Kerber generously put Azarenka on the board and Kerber led 4-1.

The opening two points to Azarenka on Kerber's serve gave her a little hope.  15-40 after an effective Azarenka backhand.  The first break point saved after a long rally.  One break back, sealed with a drop shot and Kerber's lead trimmed to 4-2.  Azarenka now more confident and at 40-0 almost ready to attack the Kerber serve again.  However 40-30 with a Kerber winner and Azarenka error.  Deuce with a poor Azarenka overhead.  A strong forehand forced a Kerber error and eventually it was Azarenka's game, her third in a row, trailing now 3-4.

A double fault then ground shot long put Kerber at 0-30.  Another wide shot from Kerber and two break points for Azarenka.  One saved with a ripping German forehand.  A big serve and it was deuce. A great rally won by Kerber and game point.  Deuce again.  Ace for another game point.  Excellent touch at the net by Azarenka and deuce.  Wild and long by Vika for game point.  Deuce once more.  Ace timely for Kerber.  Deuce.  Backhand sensational by Kerber.  And a long Azarenka backhand gave Kerber the game to lead 5-3.

0-30 and danger for Azarenka.  A netted backhand by her and three set points.  One saved with an ace. Good net play saved a second.  The third saved with all court tennis.  Deuce.  Game point with the type of tennis we associate with Azarenka.  Set point again after Kerber stepped up.  Set taken after Azarenka fell back into error once more.

Angie Kerber led Vika Azarenka 6-3 in a big surprise.

Vika, visibly angry and audibly screaming her unhappiness, broke the Kerber serve straight away in set two to lead 1-0.  An easy hold consolidated the break and 2-0 was the advantage.  

Kerber with a forehand down the line led 30-0 but a backhand even better from Azarenka and 30-15. A stunning Kerber backhand sealed the game and she trailed 1-2.  Kerber forced an Azarenka error and then a self inflicted mistake from Kerber made it 15-15. Wonderful Azarenka backhand gave her two game points, one saved with a great backhand from Kerber.  Azarenka held for 3-1.

A Kerber forehand winner made it 15-15.  15-30 was a cause of concern for Angie.  30-30 with a forehand winner, and game point with an ace.  Serve held for 2-3.  Double fault from Azarenka and she had 15-15.  Forehand backhand forehand winner combination by Azarenka and 30-30  Kerber put away a winner and had break point.  Forehand volley from the top shelf by Vika to save the break point.  Another chance for Kerber from a surprise Azarenka mistake.  Saved.  Azarenka won a long and quality rally and subsequently the game for a 4-2 lead.

15-0 to Kerber following a clean winner.  A change up from Azarenka with a forehand winner and 30-30. Another in the same spot and break point.  Forcing Kerber to hit wide Azarenka claimed the break and now was serving for the set at 5-2.

30-0 quickly and a backhand crosscourt winner brought up three set points.  One saved.  And a second with a brilliant forehand return.  Deuce with a forehand blasted winner from Kerber.  A backhand screamer from Kerber and break point.  A double fault and Azarenka now led 5-3.  Incredible effort from Angie.  15-15 on the next Kerber serve.  A super backhand from Azarenka and a great response from Kerber with a marvellous forehand then a backhand to lead 40-30.  5-4 Azarenka and she would try to serve for the set a second time.

15-0 following an Angie error.  30-15 after an exchange of mistakes.  Two set points now for Azarenka.  One saved through a Vika error.  An Angie backhand winner and it was deuce.  Break point with a Vika backhand pushed wide.  The break came with an Angie forehand winner.  5-5.  Extraordinary.

30-15 for Angie.  Two game points after Vika's backhand sailed long. Angie 6-5 and a game from the semis.  Forehand winner from Vika 15-0.  Forehand winner from Angie in reply 15-15.  Vika hitting long for 15-30.  Backhand winner down the line from Vika for 30-30.  Forehand wide from Vika and match point for Angie.  A super cross court forehand does the job.

Angie Kerber defeated Vika Azarenka for the first time in a huge surprise 6-3 7-5.  Saving all those set points with incredible winning tennis shots was jaw dropping stuff and if that can be delivered in the semi final there is nothing to stop Angie from appearing in the final this year.

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