Ashleigh Barty, Angelique Kerber to meet in Cincinnati semifinals

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Ashleigh Barty will face Angelique Kerber in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open, which will be the world number one’s third match in a row against a Grand Slam champion.

After beating two-time Australian Open champion and title holder Victoria Azarenka 6-0 6-2 to inflict her heaviest defeat since 2007, Barty ousted reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-4 on Friday, having also defeated the Czech en route to the Wimbledon title last month.

The tenth-ranked Krejcikova, making her singles debut in Cincinnati, led by a break in the second set, but Barty recovered and stormed to victory in 71 minutes. The Australian is now 14-1 against Top 20 opponents in 2021, and 7-1 against the Top 10.

Three-time major champion Angelique Kerber advanced when Petra Kvitova retired midway through the second set of their quarterfinal, later citing a stomach issue. At the time her 11th-seeded opponent quit, the German was leading 6-4 3-3.

Kerber has now reached the semifinals or better at her last three tournaments. Actually, the 33-year-old has now won 14 or her last 15 matches. The sole loss happened at the hands of Barty, in Wimbledon semifinals.

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