Angelique Kerber beats Camila Giorgi to set up Sydney final against Ashleigh Barty
Angelique Kerber has continued her impressive winning streak this year with a 6-2 6-3 win over Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi in the semifinals of the Apia International in Sydney after coming back from 1-3 down in the second set and moved into the final of this tournament for the second time in her career four years after finishing runner-up to Tsvetana Pironkova in the 2014 edition.
Kerber has qualified for her first final since last April when she finished runner-up in Monterrey. The German won all her singles matches at the Hopman Cup in Perth in the first week of January and continued her impressive start to the season by beating Lucie Safarova in the first round and number 2 seed Venus Williams in the second round in two three-set matches.
Giorgi was in excellent form this week and moved into the semifinal after winning six consecutive matches including three qualifying round matches and three main draw wins against Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova and former WTA Finals champion Agnieszka Radwanska. She is projected to move up to world number 75 in the WTA Ranking.
Kerber was able to convert on five of her seven break points, while Giorgi broke just once from her nine opportunites.
Giorgi earned the first break point chance in the fourth game but Kerber saved it. The German converted on her first break point at 2-2 40-30. The former world number 1 player saved two more break points at 3-2 with a service winner and a forehand passing shot. Kerber went up a double break in the seventh game with a forehand winner on the break point to open up a 5-2 lead and rallied from 15-30 down to serve out for the set, after Giorgi made three unforced errors.
Giorgi went up an early break at the start of the second set to race out to a 3-0 and earned two double break points at 15-40, but Kerber saved both break point chances. At 3-1 Giorgi made a double fault at 40-40. Kerber broke back in the fifth game for 2-3 after Giorgi put a high forehand volley long following an intense rally.
Kerber broke Giorgi for the second consecutive time at 15 to take a 4-3 lead, after the Italian made a double fault and a forehand error.
Kerber saved another break point in the eighth game with a forehand winner before breaking Giorgi for the third consecutive time to close it out on her first match point in the final game, after Giorgi made two consecutive unforced errors.
Kerber has beaten Giorgi for the third consecutive time and reached the 27th final of her career and the first since the WTA Finals title match in Singapore in 2016. She will be bidding to win her first title since her US Open triumph in 2016.
Kerber will take on local favourite Ashleigh Barty, who has become the first Australian player to reach the final in Sydney since 2005, when Molik beat Sam Stosur.
Kerber and Barty have tied 1-1 in their previous two head-to-head matches played in 2017. Kerber beat Barty 6-3 2-6 6-3 in her first match at the Brisbane International, but lost to her younger Australian rival by 6-3 6-4 in last November’s Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.
Barty came back from one set down to beat her compatriot Daria Gavrilova 3-6 6-4 6-2 despite 9 double faults and 42 unforced errors. The match featured 11 breaks of serve, but Barty got just one break in the decisive set. Gavrilova was bidding to reach the fifth final of her career and the third at Premier level after finishing runner-up in Moscow 2016 and in New Haven in 2017.
After a trade of breaks in the the third and fourth games of the opening set Gavrilova got two consecutive breaks to open up a 5-2 lead. Barty pulled one break back at deuce for 3-5 but Gavrilova sealed the first set with a break at love, after Barty made a double fault.
Gavrilova dropped her first two service games to trail 0-3 in the early stages of the second set, but she recovered with two breaks in the fourth and eighth games to draw level to 4-4, as Barty made a double fault while she went down a break point. Barty got a decisive break in the ninth game for 5-4, as Gavrilova made two double faults. Barty hit two forehand winners to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Barty broke serve in the first and seventh games to open up a 5-2 lead and held her service game at deuce to win the 14th decisive set of her career.
“It’s amazing. It’s nice to make a final at home. I would love to go one further and hold the trophy up here. I love playing in Australia. It’s nice to be able to get a lot of matches here and be rewarded with the final”, said Barty.