Get to know surprise US Open semifinalist Angelique Kerber

We’ve reached the final four on the women’s side of the draw at the US Open 2011 and if you’ve being keeping up, you know that there’s a rather unexpected name left on the bottom half. 23 year old German, Angelique Kerber, beat Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals to advance to her first career Grand Slam semifinal against Samantha Stosur.

Angelique Kerber

To be perfectly honest, at the start of the tournament, I hadn’t given Angelique Kerber a second thought. Ranked 92 in the world, it seemed unlikely that she would cause any major damage. She played a very winnable first round match against American wildcard Lauren Davis, but then she was expected to bow out quietly to No. 13, Agnieszka Radwanska. Kerber made a few headlines by upsetting Radwanska, but there were several early exits by top seeds and Angelique Kerber once again became a footnote in the US Open story. However, unlike Simona Halep, who upset Li Na, or Alexandra Dulgheru, who took out Petra Kvitova, Kerber continued winning. Granted, she lucked out a bit with the draw, playing Alla Kudryavtseva in the third round, followed by Monica Niculescu in the fourth, before beating three time quarterfinalist Flavia Pennetta.

Angelique Kerber, or Angie as her friends and family call her, was born in West Germany on January 18, 1988. She’s a lefty, who claims that she has no favorite surface, but cites the Australian Open as her favorite Slam and Indian Wells as her favorite tournament. Her highest career ranking came early this year when she reached No. 46 in the world, but she has since fallen to No. 92. She has never won a WTA singles title, but holds 11 ITF titles. Prior to the 2011 US Open, her best performance at any Slam was reaching the third round. In fact, she lost to Laura Robson in the first round of Wimbledon this year.

Kerber joins a growing number of talented young Germans making their mark on the tour, including Andrea Petkovic, Sabine Lisicki, and Julia Goerges. Three of them made it to the round of 16, two to the quarterfinals, and Angie is the last woman standing in the semis. While she is certainly considered the underdog in her next match, she’s on the right half of the draw to pull an upset. Samantha Stosur has only appeared in one final in thirty three Grand Slam appearances. Although Stosur has been playing some spectacular tennis over the last week and a half, Kerber has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this matchup. Plus, she has the element of surprise. When asked to assess her potential match against Kerber, Samantha Stosur responded, “ Well, I don’t actually know much about Kerber except that she’s a lefty.  That’s about it.  We’ve never played and never practiced together or anything like that.  Might be interesting to watch a little bit of that match.” Hopefully Sam at least sent her coach out to watch Flavia and Angelique because with the way things have been going in New York this week, anything could happen.