Kerber back in top 20 after reaching Sydney final

Kerber back in top 20 after reaching Sydney final

Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber continued her strong start to the season by advancing to the Sydney International semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Dominika Cibulkova on Thursday.

Kerber, who began previous year as No 1 before finishing at No.22, continued her 2018 resurgence with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Camila Giorgi, ending the Italian qualifier's run of six wins in the tournament.

Elise Mertens will defend her Hobart International title in the Hobart, Australia, final after eliminating 2015 champion Heather Watson 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 on Friday.

It is an impressive start to the new year for Kerber, having won her four matches at last week's mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth before her four victories in Sydney.

"I just tried to play my tennis like I've played the last years and I'm so happy to be in the final in the first tournament of the year", Kerber said in a court-side interview.

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"Being now in the semis again here, it's really a good feeling, especially that I had the goal, to have a lot of matches before going to Melbourne".

It also marks the ninth-straight singles win of her 2018 reawakening, a display that confirms she means business in next week's Australian Open.

The Queenslander won 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 against a fiery Gavrilova, who struggled to find any consistency with her serve, and who earned a code violation for racquet abuse when frustrations boiled over. "I'm just motivated to do it". "We can go out and have a really good match, go hard at each other, and still shake hands, have a hug at the end of the match, and wish each other the best", Barty said. Defending champion Mertens suffered a second-set blip against Watson, victor in 2015, but recovered to earn a 6-4 1-6 6-2 success.

The 84th-ranked Medvedev came back from a set down to move within one win of what would be his maiden ATP title against rising Australian star Alex de Minaur.

In men's semifinals, Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev booked a spot in the final by upsetting fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

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