Halep Defeats Kerber in Three Epic Sets, Advances to First Australian Open Final

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World #1 Simona Halep beat Angelique Kerber in an extremely tight match with the scoreline 6-3 4-6 9-7 to reach her third Grand Slam final and her first at the Australian Open.

First set

Kerber had difficulties beginning and made a very slow start to the set and found herself a break down already in the first game. Halep looked impressive on serve and eased through her service game before breaking Kerber once again. The Romanian continued to dominate and broke the 30-year-old’s serve again to lead 5-0 and serve for a bagel. The Romanian was playing such aggressive tennis by attacking the German’s serve and giving her no chance to get the ball back in play.

However, the match was not as simple as it appeared, as Kerber fought hard to break back twice to get the score to 5-3. She appeared to have reflected well over the changeover and suddenly looked like a completely different to the one we had just seen lose 5 games in a row – she looked like the Kerber we’d seen for the rest of this year. The match continued to be as patchy as ever, as Halep stopped the German’s run of games by winning the set 6-3.

Second set

Halep looked mightily impressive in the first game of the second set, as she dominated her opponent with her serve. It is important to note that this match wasn’t what it was expected to be like; instead of long rallies, we have seen both players wanting to finish points as quickly as possible, especially Kerber. They both have hit much more winners than they usually would and more unforced errors, due their aggressive tactics today. Both held serve through their first few service games before Halep just edged Kerber to break and lead 3-1. After that game, both players started to become less aggressive and the rallies started to grow longer, as we had expected. The match continued to be as topsy-turvy as ever as Kerber once again managed to retrieve the break back to put the set back on serve.

Kerber continued to do what she did in the beginning of the match and tried to be too aggressive once again. The problem with this was that it is not her game to hit winners out of nowhere, so when she kept trying to attack in Halep’s service games she kept hitting unforced errors. Halep had an opportunity to break her opponent’s serve once again but Kerber produced some emphatic tennis to level to level the set at 4-4. Kerber continued to raise her level, as she broke Halep to lead 5-4 and serve for the second set. Halep looked extremely deflated as Kerber served it out to win the set 6-4.

Halep had so many opportunities to get it done it straight sets and she will obviously be disappointed with how she played at the end. Credit has to be given to the German player though, as she found a way to play much more clean tennis to deny her opponent.

Third set

Angelique Kerber started off well and managed to break the Romanian in the first game but was immediately broken back. Halep produced some brilliant tennis to earn herself two games in a row. She then survived a small scare to lead 4-3 in the final set by coming down from 0-30 on serve. Halep finally got the breakthrough and tried to serve out the match at 5-3 but Kerber fought back and played an amazing final point to break Halep’s serve once again. Halep had two match points at 5-4 in the set but the 27-year-old played some gutsy tennis to save them both and win the game. Kerber finally broke Halep’s serve and like her opponent, also had two match points but was broken straight back.

From that point, the match’s quality improved tremendously. Each player fought back in incredible fashion whenever facing a match point, but Halep eventually took her fourth opportunity to win the final set 9-7.

As predicted, it was an extremely close match but Halep just played the more important points better throughout the match. Halep will face Caroline Wozniacki in the final, in a fight for the World #1 spot.

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