Angelique Kerber sets up Barty battle in Wimbledon semi-finals

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 06 Jul 2021
Kerber has now won each of her last 10 matches on grass (USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images)

Angelique Kerber maintained her quest for a second Wimbledon title with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Karolina Muchova booking her place in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 2018 champion progressed as the last-four line-up was completed at SW19, where a record six players were appearing in the quarter-finals for the first time.

The only two remaining players to have encountered this stage before, Kerber and Muchova did battle for an hour and a quarter on No.1 Court.

Appearing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final since lifting the trophy here three years ago, the German was seeking a 10th successive win on grass having also recently triumphed in Bad Hamburg.

And she established early control on proceedings, breaking early on the way to a 3-0 lead before seeing out the opening set.

Muchova, who beat French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on the way to a second straight quarter-final at the All England Club, is only the third player to achieve that feat in her first two appearances.

But any hopes of going the extra step soon faded as Kerber reeled off four consecutive games from 1-1 in the second on the way to reaching a fourth Wimbledon semi-final.

That set up a mouth-watering showdown with top seed Ashleigh Barty, who saw off compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 6-3.

Despite landing just 25 per cent of her first serves, the world number one still raced away with the opening set.

Tomljanovic had won just twice on her previous five appearances at Wimbledon prior to this year’s Championship, but a string of unforced errors severely dented her chances of extending her venture into further unchartered territory.

Barty needed no second invitations as she wrapped up victory in just over an hour – meaning she has now won nine sets without reply – while taking her tally of aces in the tournament to 38.

That is just two less than the in-form Karolina Pliskova, who has become the first player in three years to reach the semi-finals without dropping a set after overcoming Viktorija Golubic 6-2, 6-2.

The most successful player on the tour without capturing a Grand Slam, Pliskova boasts 16 titles including triumphs on this surface at Eastbourne and Nottingham.

The eighth seed quickly gained control as she reeled off seven successive games from 2-2 against Golubic, who was aiming to become the first Swiss player to reach the last four here since Martina Hingis.

And there were no slip-ups thereon for the former world number one; now a semi-finalist in all four Slams and aiming to become the third Czech winner at Wimbledon after the late Jana Novotna and Petra Kvitova.

She will now face second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who ended Ons Jabeur’s record-breaking run in straight sets (6-4, 6-3).

Tunisia’s Jabeur had beaten three Grand Slam champions – Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Iga Swiatek – to become the first Arab quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 47 years.

She had also won 10 of her last 11 matches on grass, but was unable to live with the power of Sabalenka, who hit 26 winners while saving six of seven break points on the way to what she hopes will be a maiden Slam.

Earlier, Hubert Hurkacz continued his best-ever Grand Slam performance by beating Daniil Medvedev in their heldover fourth-round clash 2-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Resuming after play was suspended on Monday due to poor weather, Hurkacz trailed by two sets to one but was 4-3 to the good in the fourth.

Appearing at this stage of a Slam for the first time, the Pole wasted no time in forcing a decider, which he controlled to set up a clash with eight-time champion Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.


Wimbledon 2021 Results

Tuesday July 6


Men’s Last 16 (To finish): Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 3-6 Hubert Hurkacz
Ons Jabeur 4-6, 3-6 Aryna Sabalenka
Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-3 Ajla Tomljanovic

Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-2 Viktorija Golubic
Karolina Muchova 2-6, 3-6 Angelique Kerber

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