Kerber faced three set points trailing 5-2 in the second, and
two more at 5-4, but turned the set in her favor by cutting
loose and swinging for the fences, storming home to clinch the
match and setting up a semi-final against Briton Johanna Konta.
"I played very well. I mean, I was playing my game from the
first point," the smiling German told reporters. "When I was
down 2-5, I was actually playing more aggressive.
"I think I won the match. She didn't lose it; I actually won
Kerber, seeded seventh and a semi-finalist at the 2011 U.S. Open
and Wimbledon in 2012, was not the favorite against the 14th
seeded Azarenka, who had won their six previous meetings
including the Brisbane International final in the leadup to
While Kerber has struggled at times in the tournament, saving a
match point in her first round clash against Misaki Doi,
Azarenka bulldozed her way through the draw and looked to be
back at the level that netted her Melbourne Park titles in 2012
But the Belarusian, who had lost just 11 games in her previous
four matches, found herself 4-0 down in the first set, which
Kerber went on to take in 48 minutes.
Azarenka reduced the error count and mounted a comeback that
gave her the chance to serve out the second set at 5-2, but
Kerber hit back, saving three set points and then two more in
the 10th game to level it at 5-5.
Kerber kept up the pressure, drilling the lines and smacking
winners from every angle before clinching the match in one hour,
The German said she had visited Steffi Graf in Las Vegas last
year to seek some advice from the 22-times grand slam champion
and was inspired by her compatriot.
"Steffi is a champion. She won everything. She's a great person
as well. I was able to practice with her a few days just before
Indian Wells last year," Kerber said.
"But she taught me actually that I'm on a good way and try to
believe in myself."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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