Kerber and Halep turn it up at the Australian
The semifinal match between Kerber and Halep turned out to be one for the ages. When it was all said and done, Halep won 6-3, 4-6, 9-7. I was a nervous wreck watching at 1:30am Chicago time. I was rooting for Halep, partly because I lived in Romania for two years, and absolutely love the people and the culture. I can’t even imagine what it was like for either Kerber or Halep’s coaching staff. Both came back from multiple match points before Halep finally came through.
In the end Halep had a bit more courage and was more aggressive. Halep had more winners, 50 vs. 33, which also translated into more unforced errors (50 vs. 34). Given the winners vs. unforced errors, you would think it shouldn’t have been as close.
But it was, and it was a joy to watch Kerber play epic counterpunching tennis throughout the whole match. I can’t even count the number of points where Halep was running Kerber from corner to corner, hitting angle after angle in rallies, and somehow, she would force a Halep error. Check out some of the highlights:
You would think this would have been disheartening for Halep, however, she stayed focused and aggressive, and it paid dividends in the end. Halep has credited coach Darren Cahill for her newfound focus.
Wozniacki vs. Halep in the final
So now we have a very interesting final. Both Wozniacki and Halep have been number one, but lack a Grand Slam. Both have been in multiple grand slam finals and have not been able to come through. In the past, both have had mental shortcomings in big matches but seem to have become mentally tougher. Both have faced match points on their way to this Australian Open Final, and have come out ahead. The similarities make the match up even more interesting. I am planning on staying up Saturday night and I’m sure I’ll be treated to another amazing match!