Halep vs. Kerber
|Date & Time||Thursday January 25, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep meet in the semifinals of the 2018 Australian Open.
Angelique Kerber is coming off a straight sets win over Madison Keys that took 15 games to decide. In the victory, Kerber won 83 percent of her first serve points and 44 percent of her second serve points. Kerber simply dominated a red hot Keys by winning 52 percent of her return points and dropping just four first serve points. In four of Kerber’s five victories, the German has lost no more than five games. It’s still early in the season, but it’s safe to say that Kerber is back to being a feared player in tournaments given last years struggles. Kerber hopes to make her fourth career grand slam final appearance and second in the Australian Open. Kerber is 3-2 in her career in grand slam semifinal matches. Kerber has won 10 straight matches on hard court.
Simona Halep is coming off a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova that took 17 games to decide. In the victory, Halep won 76 percent of her first serve points and 45 percent of her second serve points. Halep has also had little trouble in this tournament outside of her third round match with Lauren Davis, and she’s coming off a match in which she broke argubaly the best server in the game five times. Halep has been much more positive on the court and is serving better than we’ve seen from her recently. However, Halep does have a history of burning out around this time in grand slam play, so this will be the test for the Romanian firecracker. Halep hopes to make her third career grand slam final appearance and first ever in the Australian Open. Halep is 2-2 in career grand slam semifinal matches. Halep has won 11 straight matches on hard court.
These two have played nine times and Kerber has won five of those meetings. The most recent match was in the 2016 WTA Championships, a match Kerber won in straight sets. Kerber has won four of the last five meetings against Halep, with her only loss during that span coming in the 2016 Canadian Masters. Halep is 4-1 against Kerber on outdoor hard court.
Kerber’s dominating win over Keys is one of the better performances of the tournament and has to be in the back of your mind before betting this match. Kerber has also won the last 11 of 13 sets played against Halep. However, Halep has dominated Kerber when playing on outdoor hard court, which tells me she’s able to control the pace and wear down Kerber with her constant movement and baseline shots. This is pretty much a coin flip and Kerber is probably the favorite due to her experience, but Halep has been consistent and needs that victory to get over the top eventually. Their games are so similar and whoever makes the fewest unforced errors will win.
I’m giving the slightest of edges to Halep.