Angelique Kerber has become the first German woman in 20 years to advance to the final of the Australian Open. She will be aiming to protect a fellow German's record when she faces Serena Williams in the final.
The 28-year-old German advanced to the final by beating Johanna Konta of Britain 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday. The world No. 6, who is the first German woman to reach the final in Melbourne since Anke Huber lost to Monica Seles in 1996, profited from 36 unforced errors by the 47th-ranked Briton.
"It's a really special moment for me," Kerber said afterwards. "I'll be trying to give all on court. It's exciting to put a German a Grand Slam final again."
Kerber is to face Serena Williams in the final, after she beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-4 in just over an hour. The 34-year-old American is aiming to equal Steffi Graf's record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
'Steffi write me please'
Asked if as a fellow German she felt a duty to try to protect Graf's record, Kerber replied: "I think so. I think so. The Germans must be together." Asked if she would seek Graf's advice ahead of the final, Kerber said: "Steffi, write me please!"
Graf must have been watching, as Kerber later revealed that she had received a text message from the former world No. 1, which read: "I'm very happy, greetings from Las Vegas," (where she resides with her American husband, Andre Agassi).
Kerber goes into the final as the clear underdog against Williams, who won five of their previous six encounters.
Williams, who sat out what remained of last season after the US Open, said the extended break had helped her game.
"Mentally I needed a break after the Open, physically I just feel so good. I needed time off just to, like, take a minute and just chill and re-heal, get ready. "I didn't think I would do so well so fast."
pfd/ (dpa, SID, Reuters)