Wimbledon 2018

Kerber shrugs off semi-final pressure

Germany's Angelique Kerber, the 11th seed, needed seven match points to seal a 6-3, 7-5 quarter-final win over Russia's Daria Kasatkina yesterday. Her next opponent will be Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko.
Germany's Angelique Kerber, the 11th seed, needed seven match points to seal a 6-3, 7-5 quarter-final win over Russia's Daria Kasatkina yesterday. Her next opponent will be Latvian 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Angelique Kerber might be the highest women's singles seed left at Wimbledon, but she does not think there will be extra expectations ahead of her semi-final clash with Jelena Ostapenko.

The two-time Major champion from Germany needed seven match points to see off Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5 yesterday.

Kerber is bidding to win the Wimbledon title for the first time after losing the 2016 final to Serena Williams. And her third appearance in the last four will see her take on last year's French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who subdued Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 6-4 yesterday.

"I think it's a big challenge, especially about Ostapenko where I never played against her," 11th-seed Kerber said.

"I mean, she won also a Grand Slam. I think it will be really a good match. I think the match starts from zero. I mean, the pressure is not always on my side, since she won a Grand Slam, as well."

In contrast, 14th seed Kasatkina was a familiar opponent.

Kerber beat the Russian on grass at Eastbourne two weeks ago and again she was in control, finishing off the first set easily before landing an early break in the second.

Kasatkina pushed Kerber hard in the closing stages before the 2016 Australian and US Open champion finally seal victory after the 21-year-old's return found the net.

Kerber will be tested by an increasingly confident Ostapenko. The 21-year-old yesterday became the first Latvian to reach a singles semi-final at the All England club.

Thirteen months after her first clay-court title at Roland Garros, she said: "I am fighting till the end and it helps me gain more confidence. It's great to be in the semis."

The other semi-final will feature former world No. 1 Serena Williams and German Julia Gorges.

Williams came from a set down to defeat Italian Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Gorges also recovered from the loss of the first set to beat Kiki Bertens 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WIMBLEDON

Singtel TV Ch114/115 & StarHub Ch208/209, 8pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Kerber shrugs off semi-final pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe