Stephens to face Azarenka in semis

Sloane Stephens raced into the Miami Open semi-finals on Tuesday with a crushing 6-1, 6-2 victory over Angelique Kerber.

The US Open champion had struggled for form since claiming her first grand slam title last September and went six months without a win, but she finally seems to have got back on track as she dominated the 10th seed in Key Biscayne.

Stephens sped through the first set in just 23 minutes, but was made to work a bit harder in the second before clinching the win in front of an adoring home crowd.

“The fact that the tournament is in South Florida and all my family and friends and everyone can come and support, it’s incredibly special,” Stephens said afterwards.

The 13th seeded Stephens will play another comeback queen in Victoria Azarenka in the last four after she ousted fifth seed Karolina Pliskova in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

Azarenka is playing just her second tournament since Wimbledon last summer after several months out because of an ongoing legal battle over custody of her son.

On Tuesday she demonstrated the big-match game that took her to the Miami title in 2016 as she broke Pliskova seven times to extend her winning streak at Key Biscayne
to 11.

Friday’s semi will be the Belarusian’s first semi-final in two years.

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