Novak Djokovic inched closer to a record-extending 10th Australian Open title after he overcame a sluggish start to defeat Tommy Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals at Melbourne Park, here on Friday.
A ruthless Angelique Kerber of Germany on Friday lost just a game on her way to routing Australian wildcard Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0 in the third round of the 2019 Australian Open.
Kerber, who turned 31 on the same day, was in no mood to have her birthday celebrations spoilt by Birrell, who in her second main draw appearance in Melbourne, had pulled off a big upset by ousting 29th seed Donna Vekic in the second round, reports Efe news.
“For me, whenever I step on these courts, I want to play my best tennis,” Kerber said, according to the tournament’s website.
“I always enjoy my birthday here; I think it is the 12th time in a row.”
It took Kerber just 13 minutes to snatch a 3-0 lead, a service break included.
Then Birrell managed to get onto the scoreboard; but only with one game.
The German second seed and former world No. 1 had all the answers for the rest of the match, thrashing the Australian and not even facing a single break point through the 58-minute encounter.
Kerber took nine games in a row to seal the win on the strength of 17 winners in addition to an eyebrow-raising 30 unforced errors by her opponent.
Next up for Kerber will be United States’ Danielle Collins, a three-time Grand Slam champion.
The American may be a tricky opponent for the German as Collins stunned Kerber’s compatriot, Julia Goerges, the 14th seed, in the first round play and then French player and 19th seed Caroline Garcia in the third round.