Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Kerber wins 9th in a row to clinch Sydney title

Kerber wins 9th in a row to clinch Sydney title

Ashleigh Barty won the battle of the Australians against Daria Gavrilova in the semi-finals of the Sydney International to set-up a meeting with Angelique Kerber - a match where the trophy will be up for grabs.

Kerber, who began past 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.

A former finalist, she lost to qualifier Pironkova in 2014, Kerber could become the first German to win the title in Sydney as Bunge and Huber, the only other compatriots to reach the final here, were runner up in 1979 and 1993.

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.

"For me, it was about coming here and playing with freedom", she said after her latest success, the second in three matches she has achieved over her opponent.

It's just the beginning of the year. "I've had a great off-season and I'm working hard".

Barty, ranked nineteenth, cruised past Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2, while 25th-ranked Gavrilova had direct passage to the last four when Spain's Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza withdrew after her win over Kiki Bertens with a thigh injury.

"So now, I just am trying to playing like I played years before and enjoying it again".

"It's nice getting a bit of confidence going into our biggest tournament for us", Barty said of next week's Australian Open.

In men's quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini beat No. 5 Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2, Daniil Medvedev defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, and Benoit Paire beat second-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4.

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.

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