Stars shine in quarter-final clashes
Serena Williams swiftly moved into the semi-finals – joining fellow top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Amanda Anisimova in the final four.
Williams made her way past German Laura Siegemund in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to win her third match of the tournament. Service breaks were hard to come by in the first set until Williams broke her opponent at 5-4 to claim the set.
In the second set Siegemend used her variety to move Williams forward with several acute drop-shot winners to lead 3-1. However, Williams’ championship nerve kicked in – as she upped the ante and the power - to win five games on the trot and secure the match in 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Williams says she knew she had to step up in the pressure moments.
“It was good for me to just fight - she has a really good game and hit a lot of really good winners, so it wasn’t easy.”
She feels she’s hitting good form heading into Melbourne.
“I’m super fit but match fitness is a little different, so all these matches are really helping.”
Williams will next face compatriot and third seed Amanda Anisimova who won the match of the day under the lights on centre court against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
Anisimova was more effective on her serve in the first set – winning more than 80 per cent of points on her second serve. Her laser-like groundstrokes found their target as she wrapped up the first set 6-3. Bouchard didn’t back down in the second finding her range to steal the first break and eventually taking the second set 6-3.
Both players struggled to hold serve at the start of third set – with a flurry of service of breaks. Both players traded blows from the back of the court - with both hitting a number of clutch winners. The decisive break came in a marathon 9th game which lasted almost ten minutes. Anisimova converted the break and served out the match in style finishing with a crisp forehand volley winner.
In a highly anticipated semi-final showdown Anisimova will meet Serena Williams. The two players have never met before, and it’s a dream come true for 18-year old Anisimova.
Caroline Wozniacki steamrolled two-time defending champ Julia Goerges 6-1 6-4 to seal her semi-final spot. Wozniacki was coming off the back of a three-set battle with Lauren Davis the night before. But the Dane showed no effects from the two- and half-hour tussle – sweeping Goerges aside in the first set 6-1.
In the second set Wozniacki kept dominating on serve – not offering Goerges any break point chances. The German former top ten player couldn’t get her serve firing - bringing an end to her 12-match winning streak at the ASB Classic.
Wozniacki is still on track to get her fairy tale ending in Auckland. She’ll next face the unseeded American Jessica Pegula who won her match when Frenchwoman Alize Cornet retired 6-0 3-2 down with a thigh injury.