Kerber, De Minaur strole into Sydney semis

Angelique Kerber defeated Dominika Cibulkova to reach the semifinals of the Sydney International on Thursday while Australian youngster Alex De Minaur beat Feliciano López to also claim a semis berth.

The 29-year-old Kerber beat Cibulkova 6-3, 6-1 after a shaky start to the match when she was trailing 0-2 but then broke serve five times for a convincing victory.

The German’s backhand was her big weapon in the victory and in an interview afterwards, Kerber said she felt good going into the 2018 season.

“I’m not looking back 2017 anymore. I’ve had a great off-season and I’m working hard. I’m trying to do my best on court and win as many matches before going to Melbourne,” she said.

“It’s just the beginning of the year. I’m trying to play my game again, enjoy every minute on court. I’m trying to be aggressive and play like I did the year before last.

Camila Giorgi will be Kerber’s semifinal opponent after beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2.

In other results, Australian Daria Gavrilova was handed a walkover when Spanish top seed Garbiñe Muguruza pulled out of the tournament after picking up a leg injury.

Aussie Ashleigh Barty beat Czech Barbora Strýcová 6-3, 6-2 and will face Gavrilova next.

In men’s quarterfinal results, 18-year-old De Minaur reached the semifinals when he beat López of Spain 6-4, 6-4 and will play Frenchman Benoît Paire next.

Paire caused an upset when he defeated second-seeded Gilles Müller of Luxembourg 6-4, 6-4 and things went according to plan when Italian fourth seed Fabio Fognini got past French fifth seed Adrian Mannarino 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-2.

Fognini’s next opponent is Daniil Medvedev of Russia after he beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3.