Angelique Kerber gives Dominika Cibulkova a helping hand in reaching last four of WTA Finals

German’s victory over Madison Keys allows Slovakian to advance to the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 October, 2016, 11:37pm

Angelique Kerber helped Dominika Cibulkova reach the semi-finals of the WTA Finals on Thursday.

Kerber, who had already advanced from the Red Group, beat Madison Keys 6-3, 6-3 to finish 3-0 in the round robin and eliminate her American opponent. Cibulkova beat Simona Halep 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) earlier in the day, giving her a 1-2 record.

The top-ranked Kerber will be playing in the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament for the first time after failing to advance in three previous attempts. In 2016, the German won the Australian Open and US Open, and reached the final at Wimbledon.

“Today I wasn’t thinking about that I already was in the semis,” Kerber said. “It was important to go out to win the match and win all three matches.

“Now I’m going to the semis with three really good matches which gives me a lot of confidence.”

In the match with Keys, half of the 18 games resulted in service breaks. Kerber broke Keys’ serve on six of seven offerings, while Keys took advantage of three of four break points.

“I think today I, again, played with nerves,” Keys said. “I have to learn to separate my feelings and emotions when I’m in high-stress situations. It’s something I need to work on.”

Keys and Halep, who had her left knee taped for the early match, also finished the group with 1-2 records, but finished behind Cibulkova in the standings.

“This win is really, really big for me,” Cibulkova said. “I feel relieved. It seems like I’m playing my best tennis under biggest pressure.”

Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is 2-0 in the White Group, has already qualified for the semi-finals. The second semi-final spot from that group will be decided on Friday when defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska plays Karolina Pliskova.

Garbine Muguruza has already been eliminated from semi-final contention.