Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kerber wins Linz and qualifies for Istanbul

Angelique Kerber defeated the former world n°1 Ana Ivanovic in just two sets to conquer her first title of the year.
Her run to the title has been impressive; after the first set lost to Monica Niculescu in her opening match, ‘Angie’ didn't drop a single set all the way through to the title.
The world n°9 showed great attitude throughout the week, ignoring the major media attention gathered by her last-minute entry, to the detriment of Austrian WC Lisa-Maria Moser (for more on this story click here).
In addition to that, there was much pressure on her shoulders, since any result better than a Quarter Final would have meant the mathematical assurance to be qualified for the year-ending masters in Istanbul.

As a result, her QF match against local WC Patricia Mayr-Achleitner was tougher than the score line would suggest. Furthermore, the Austrian was playing some brilliant tennis heading to the match and had her chances in the first set, but Kerber reacted well and finished the match in total control.

The semi-final was a complete dominance by the German, who gave only two games to the world number 18, Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro.
This result and the great show of form and consistency in the past weeks set Kerber as the favourite in the final as well, despite trailing 3-1 in the head to head with Ivanovic.

The final resulted in a rollercoaster. Kerber started with the right mindset, taking the initiative whenever possible and exploiting her terrific defence to neutralise Ivanovic’s initial shots, especially off her forehand.

Suddenly the Serb’s shot increased in speed and accuracy, so in a blink of an eye, she won three games in a row to tie at 4-all.

It was then another big reaction from the German who broke Ivanovic for the third time of the set and went on serving the set out 6-4.

The second set witnessed a bit of everything, with the Serb starting with a ten-point-in-a-row streak, before surrendering to the massive comeback of Kerber, which led to a 5-4 40-0 lead on her serve. Swiftly, Ivanovic noticed the more passive attitude of her opponent and took advantage of it, saved all the match points, and broke back.

On 6-5 for the Serb, Kerber suffered a bad call that helped Ivanovic gain two set points, but instead of arguing, the German decided to fix the situation with a massive serve and a huge forehand down-the-line winner, to clear the set points and go to the tiebreak.

Once again Ana Ivanovic started strongly and went up 6-4, but similarly to the previous game, Kerber could find her best focus on the important points, while the Serb melted fast once those two more set points were gone. The fourth match point, the first in the tiebreak, was the final one, gifted by the Serb with a backhand error, which cost her the match and gave to Kerber the first title of year.

Originally posted on the sports gazette

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