6th seed Marin Cilic (CRO) played the perfect tactical match against the first time semi-finalist Kyle Edmund (GBR), never letting the Brit unleash his big forehand weapon. Edmund started well enough but Cilic broke first and took the first set 6-2, while Edmund was still finding his feet. In the second set Edmund fought back to force a tie-break but couldn’t get hold of the Cilic serve which was near flawless, losing the breaker 7-4. In the third set, the previous 5 set matches and the prospect of playing another to win, took their toll on Edmund, and chasing the angles of Cilic became too much. Cilic never dropped his concentration and closed the match out 6-2 7-6 6-2. A disappointment for Edmund but Cilic made sure the Brit didn’t receive any balls in his hitting zone. A masterclass in tennis savvy.
As predicted the match between the number 1 seed Simona Halep (ROU) and 2016 Australian Open Champion Angelique Kerber (GER) was a thriller of the highest quality. It didn’t look that way as Halep raced to a 5-0 lead in just 13 minutes before the German got into the match. Halep took the first set 6-3 and was serving for a 4-1 lead in the second set when Kerber’s tenacity took hold, winning the second set 6-4. Now it was a contest and a titanic one at that. Halep would serve first in the decider, giving her a slight edge over Kerber, who would have to play catch up. At 4-3 Halep broke to lead 5-3 and had match points, but Kerber played incredible tennis to claw back the break. Halep did very little wrong in the next few games, with punishing rallies of exceptional quality, Kerber forced her way to the break and to match points of her own, serving for a place in the final at 6-5. But the match was to swing again as neither of the incredible competitors would back down. The standard of tennis never dropped and at 8-7, Kerber was serving to stay in the match, but Halep just nudged over the line. It could have gone either way in every rally and every game. A gladiatorial battle of incredible quality which neither deserved to lose.
Halep will face 2nd seed Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) who had an easier Semi-Final victory against surprise opponent Elise Mertens (BEL). Mertens was not allowed to play her free flowing game as Wozniacki forced the errors to take the first set 6-3. The Dane was solid in the second set and was serving for the match at 5-4 when an onset of nerves saw her lose composure. She regained her focus as the tie-break came to win it 7-2, booking her place in the final.