Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Kerber dominates Keys; Chung beats Sandgren

   The match shaped up as a battle between resurgent Angelique Kerber and rising Madison Keys.
   Instead, the 21st-seeded Kerber demolished the 17th-seeded Keys 6-1, 6-2 in 51 minutes today in the Australian Open quarterfinals in Melbourne.
   "It was more Kerber playing so well than Keys playing badly," Tennis Channel commentator Martina Navratilova said of the matchup between the Bank of the West Classic champions at Stanford in 2015 (Kerber) and last year (Keys).
   Kerber, a 5-foot-8 (1.73-meter) German left-hander who turned 30 last week, admittedly played spectacular defense, as usual. But the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Keys, an American who will turn 23 on Feb. 17, had no aces and four double faults and made numerous errors, especially backhands down the line into the net.
   The match was reminiscent of last year's U.S. Open final, in which Fresno product Sloane Stephens whipped Keys 6-3, 6-0 in 61 minutes in the first major title match for both players.
   Kerber improved to 10-0 this year, including a run to the Sydney title. After winning her first two Grand Slam titles, the Australian Open and U.S. Open, and rising to No. 1 in 2016, she failed to reach the quarterfinals of a major in 2017 (losing in the first round in Melbourne and at Wimbledon) and ended the year at No. 21.
   Kerber will play top-seeded Simona Halep, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, on Wednesday PST. Kerber is 4-4 against Halep with four wins in the last five meetings.
   In a men's quarterfinal between unseeded players, Hyeon Chung, 21, of South Korea defeated Tennys Sandgren, 26, of Gallatin, Tenn., in the Nashville area 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena.
   Chung. who needed six match points, will face either second seed and defending champion Roger Federer or 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych (Wednesday at 12:30 a.m. PST on ESPN2). Chung is 0-0 against Federer and 0-2 against Berdych.
   Sandgren will add $352,398 (U.S.) to his career prize money of $488,735 and soar to about No. 52 in the rankings.
   Both Chung and Sandgren eliminated rusty former Australian Open champions in straight sets during the tournament.
   Chung toppled six-time champ Novak Djokovic, seeded 14th after taking six months off to rest his sore right elbow, to become the first Korean to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Afterward, Djokovic said the 58th-ranked Chung has top-10 potential.
   Sandgren, ranked 97th, knocked off 2014 champ Stan Wawrinka, playing in his first tournament since undergoing knee surgery five months ago, in the second round.
   Sandgren, the runner-up in the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area last fall, was 0-2 in Grand Slam matches and was 2-8 in tour-level matches entering the Australian Open.
   Chung and Sandgren met for the first time two weeks ago in Auckland, with Chung prevailing 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the first round. Sandgren said the match gave him confidence that he can compete at the top level.
   Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach, Calif. -- Qualifier Dennis Novikov, a 24-year-old San Jose product, ousted top-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the first round.
   The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter), 200-pound (91-kilogram) Novikov, ranked No. 238, slugged 15 aces past Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up who was playing in his first match since August because of a right wrist injury.

No comments:

Post a Comment