We’re down to the final four – Ash Barty, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Madison Keys. This post reviews the quarter-finals from the 2022 Australian Open which were played on Tuesday and Wednesday. The semi-finals are all set for Thursday and it will be the first time they take centre stage in Melbourne in the night session!
Seven years after her first Slam breakthrough at the Australian Open, Madison Keys is back into the semi-finals in Melbs! Keys beat the number four seed, Barbora Krejcikova, 6-3 6-2. Of the four quarter-finals on paper, this was the most intriguing one to me. The early passages fed my intrigue as the pair saved a combined 12 break points. It was lucky 13 when Keys secured the first break of the match at 3-2 in the first set. And from there on, the intrigue faded quite quickly as Keys dropped just two more games en route to victory.
It was clear that Krejcikova was struggling. The Czech player didn’t want to elaborate in press (as she didn’t want to take the credit away from Keys which I liked). It sounded like a mix of the heat and something else. From the middle of the first set onwards, Krejcikova’s footwork was non-existent and this likely caused the stream of unforced errors.
Keys played another great match and the serve was once again the bedrock of her game. 72% of first serves in and 11 aces. There was one ropey service game from Keys in the second set when Krejcikova began to mount a mini-comeback. Keys slammed the door shut pretty quickly. I’m absolutely thrilled for Madison. I wouldn’t necessarily say Madison is one of my favourite players to watch. Definitely one of my favourites off the court though.
Keys will play Ash Barty in the semi-final as the world number one routed the number 21 seed, Jessica Pegula, 6-2 6-0. This was a rough night match. I don’t think the crowd would have minded though! Barty was pretty error-strewn through the middle of the first set. Pegula had some chances that she wasn’t able to capitalise on. From 3-2 up, Barty locked in and didn’t give much away. I feel like this scoreline was a little flattering to Barty as Pegula just never got her game going. It’s been supremely smooth sailing so far for Ash. Another AO semi beckons…
The first of Wednesday’s quarter-finals had drama written all over it. Even Madison Keys had remarked a few days ago in press that she wanted to see this match-up! In the end, it was a bit of a letdown on the drama front as the number 27 seed, Danielle Collins defeated first time Slam quarter-finalist, Alizé Cornet, 7-5 6-1.
After a tight and enjoyable opening set, it was then one-way traffic for Collins. Collins started the match superbly and then had a little wobble from 5-2 to 5-5 in the first set as Cornet naturally got stuck into the rallies and Collins;s first serve disappeared when trying to serve out the set. Collins was able to reset in the next two games with a strong service game at *5-5 and some powerful hitting to edge a close game on Cornet’s serve.
Collins is unbeaten in 2022 and not to be overlooked in this final four. A wonderful tournament for Cornet who just seemed to run into a wall in that second set. Cornet will be one of my favourite memories from this tournament.
The final quarter-final was the longest of the four coming in at three hours and one minute. It was the second longest match of the entire women’s tournament and longer than the two quarter-finals on Tuesday combined! The number seven seed, Iga Swiatek came back from a set down for the second straight match as she beat Kaia Kanepi, 4-6 7-6(2) 6-3.
When I saw the scoreline, my first thought was omg how many match points did Kanepi blow 😂. On watching back, this wasn’t the case although Kanepi did need ten set points to win the opener! Swiatek had been knocking on the door for a break in the first set but it was Kanepi who suddenly took control in the middle of the first set as she began to pepper Swiatek’s baseline with deep, heavy strokes.
The second set was a bit of a rollercoaster. 1-0 Kanepi to 4-1 Swiatek to 4-4 and then into the second set tiebreak which Swiatek won comfortably. It wasn’t always pretty, 12 double faults and a total of 50 unforced for Swiatek, but she showed bundles of commitment and intent, and ultimately it felt like she wore down Kanepi in that third set. Another great run for Kanepi who can still cause absolute havoc for the seeds at the Slams. Swiatek’s run to the title at the French was all about how dominant she was so it’s been quite nice to see the fighting spirit and resilience in these tight matches.
Best point 🎾
Incredible scrambling from Swiatek on match point!
A nice moment between Alizé Cornet and Danielle Collins.
Funny moment 🤣
Enjoyed this series of 2 truths and 1 lie on the WTA’s Twitter page. Dasha and Ons taking down Anett for her love of plants… 😂😂😂.
Super snap 📸
What a snap on match point!
Press highlights 📰
Via WTA Insider, loved this insight from Cornet on going deep at a Slam.
Recommended reading 📚
Iga’s latest column for BBC Sport.
QF stats: 2/4 on TDC
QF highlights: Champ still in play and Swiatek in the semis so i’ll take that!
SF Previews 🤔
(1) Ash Barty vs. Madison Keys: Barty 2-1 H2H. I always feel slightly wary about a player that has looked good but not been tested yet. I think it’s a different kettle of fish when it comes to Barty though. This feels like it should be Barty’s toughest match of the tournament so far because Keys has been playing so well and especially on serve. I’m going Barty but I feel rather tentative because Keys has been hugely impressive. I’d love to see Ash win in Oz but if it’s not to be, Madison in the final would be a wonderful story.
(7) Iga Swiatek vs. (27) Danielle Collins: Fascinated about this one. I think it could be a cracker? Both have had two brutal three setters along the way and Swiatek most notably on Wednesday. Swiatek may be fatigued but equally she may have just played her way into form too. Going on instinct, I think Collins makes a first Slam final.