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Tennis

Kerber thrashes Keys to reach last four at Australian Open

Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open in 2016.
Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open in 2016. Reuters/Edgar Su

Angelique Kerber swept past 17th seed Madison Keys on Wednesday to reach the semi-final of the Australian Open. Kerber beat Serena Williams to win the 2016 title and then rounded off the year with a triumph at the US Open to end the season as world number one.

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But she was lacklustre during 2017 and slithered down the rankings. But the 21st seed appears to be back in the groove with an embarrassingly brisk dismissal of a doughty contender.

It finished 6-1 6-2 to the 30-year-old German and the annihilation was over in 51 minutes.

"It's great to be back in the semis of a Grand Slam especially after last year," said Kerber. "I had a lot of doubts but I am very happy with how I have managed the last few weeks."

Kerber entered the tournament on the back of a title at the WTA tournament in Sydney. It was the 11th crown of her career and the first since she claimed the US Open in September 2016.

Kerber, after having dispatched the 2008 champion Maria Sharapova in the last 32, is the only former winner left in the draw.

She will next face the top seed Simona Halep who disposed of the sixth seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2.

Kerber and Halep have met nine times with Kerber winning five of the encounters. "I know that Angelique is a strong opponent but I am going to go out and give everything that I have just like I've done in the last few matches," said Halep, who is seeking her first Grand Slam trophy.

In the other women's semi-final on Thursday, second seed Caroline Wozniacki will play the unseeded Belgian Elise Mertens.

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