Melbourne: Former champion Angelique Kerber says she will take huge confidence from fighting back to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Monday.
The German came through a severe examination in the fourth round, dropping a set for the first time in the tournament and having to serve to save the match against Taiwan's tenacious Hsieh Su-Wei.
The only Grand Slam winner left in the draw kept her hopes of a second Melbourne Park title alive with a battling 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory after being run ragged by unseeded Hsieh, ranked 88.
"That gives me a lot of confidence that I can turn around matches," said Kerber, who routed Maria Sharapova in the third round.
The former doubles world number one negated the pace of Kerber's power game with a delightful mixture of drop shots, lobs and finessed groundstrokes that had the Rod Laver Arena crowd enraptured.
It took 2 hours and 8 minutes of encapsulating tennis for Kerber finally to unlock the mystery of Hsieh's unpredictable play.
"She plays winners and had answers for every single shot I had in the first two sets," said a relieved Kerber, who added her fitness had been vital.
"The key at the end was that I really could run forever. I was feeling that I was running from the first point until the last point.
"I think she played an amazing match. I was trying everything, and she had always the better answer," said Kerber, the two-time Grand Slam champion who won the Australian Open two years ago.
In the early stages, Kerber was unable to handle the variety of Hsieh who was bidding to reach her first singles quarter-final at this level, nine years after making the fourth round on debut at Melbourne Park.
The Taiwanese veteran, 32, was looking for a third big-name scalp in a row after knocking out Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in round two and the former World No 2 Agnieszka Radwanska.
Kerber dropped the first set and was clinging on towards the end of the second, serving to save the match at 4-5 and then having to dig even deeper.
"I mean, it was 5-5, 40-15 for her, and I was just trying to not think about the score," said Kerber, who won the next four points to finally turn the tide.
It knocked the wind out of Hsieh's sails and she immediately surrendered a break at the start of the third.
When a second followed the end came quickly.
"Very well done how she played," said Kerber. "And also in her the last three (matches). We will see a lot in 2018 from her."
Kerber will play Madison Keys for a place in the semi-finals after the American 17th seed steamrollered French eighth seed Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2.
"That will be a completely different match," said the German. "I know what to expect. I know she's a hard hitter and has a great serve."
Published Date: Jan 22, 2018 13:36 PM | Updated Date: Jan 22, 2018 13:36 PM