Panelist Predictions Australian Open Women’s Day 10: Simona Halep vs Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber vs Madison Keys

Simona Halep

The Australian Open semi-finals will be set by the end of day 10 as the two remaining women’s quarter-finals are completed. The current number one faces a former number one as Simona Halep takes on Karolina Pliskova while two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber faces last year’s US Open runner-up Madison Keys. Last Word on Tennis writers, Brett Margolies, James Cunningham, Sam Barker and Yesh Ginsburg make their predictions.

Simona Halep vs Karolina Pliskova

Brett: Simona Halep’s ankle seemed to give her no trouble in her win over Naomi Osaka. She has to be confident right now after advancing to the quarterfinals in Australia for the third time in her career. I think she’ll do one better and reach the semifinals for the first time.

Halep in 3

James: This should be a blockbuster encounter, worthy of a Grand Slam final, let alone quarterfinal. Both players come into the match in wonderful form, with Halep having dispatched Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-2, and Pliskova having dug deep to grind out a three-set win over Barbora Strycova. This match seems destined to go to three sets, and it should be a wonderful display of attacking and counterpunching tennis. I am going with Halep because her game is more consistent than that of the Czech, and she looks to be in better physical shape as well.

Halep in 3
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Sam: Simona Halep has impressed me given she is playing through a nasty looking ankle injury. She seems to be thriving under the pressure of being World No.1 and her play has become more impressive as a result. That said, Pliskova has rediscovered some of her best tennis in Melbourne and has looked comfortable throughout. This will be a titanic tussle but Pliskova should sneak through in a long three sets.

Pliskova in 3

Yesh: I would usually trust Halep over Pliskova, who is a bit too one-dimensional to beat a versatile player like Halep at this stage. That ankle makes it tough, though. Halep might win, but we have no idea if she’s healthy enough to do it.

Pliskova in 3
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Angelique Kerber vs Madison Keys

Brett: Angelique Kerber eventually got through after Su-Wei Hsieh pushed her to three sets. Now she’ll face Madison Keys who plays an opposite style of play. Keys has looked great so far as she’s reached the quarterfinals without dropping a set. Kerber owns a 6-1 H2H record against Keys which includes a win at the Australian Open in 2013. I’ll give a slight edge to Madison Keys based on the way she’s playing right now.

Keys in 3

James: The German has been one of the most impressive players in the tournament so far, showing that she can still perform at the very highest level, despite her poor year last year. In many ways, this is a similar match-up to the Pliskova-Halep quarterfinal, for Keys will try and blast Kerber off the court from the baseline, and Kerber will have to prevent Keys from getting a foothold in the match. I am going for a Kerber win in two close sets, based on the fact that she is a more complete player than Keys, and has the mental strength to stay composed, even when things do not go her way during a match.

Kerber in 2
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Sam: We’ve had matches of incredible quality in Melbourne so far but this might just become the best so far. Both are playing at the top of their game and their contrasting styles make for an intriguing match stylistically. A lot depends on whether Keys gets frustrated with Kerber’s ability to put every ball back in court but her raw power should be enough to come through and reach her second Australian Open semi-final.

Keys in 2

Yesh:  This should be one of the best matches of the whole tournament. Keys is hitting the ball cleanly and looks strong, while Kerber is coming back to her 2016 self. The winner of this match should be the favorite to win the tournament – unless this match takes so much out of them to cause a loss next round.

Kerber in 3

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1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Kerber v Keys could be one of the matches of the tournament so far-sadly it turned out to be a lame non-event. Where is the fight in some of these players?

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