Angelique Kerber is back. The German player defeated Ashleigh Barty in straight sets, 6-4 6-4, after an hour and 11 minutes in the Sydney final to win her 11th career title, the first one since 2016 US Open.
Kerber had played 26 tournaments in a row without winning the title. In 2017, she had reached just one final, losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Monterrey in early April. Barty hit 24 winners to 38 unforced errors, too many to beat such a solid Kerber who hit 10 winners and 13 unforced.
They were tied on 1-1 in the head to head meetings, both played in 2017. Today Kerber won 74% first serve points, and saved five break points out of six. Barty was seeking her second singles title after 2017 Kuala Lumpur, she still earned two places in the Rankings, up to No.
17. With this win Kerber cracks top 20 again, going to the 14th place (+6). She will definitely be among the ones to watch at the Australian Open, where two years she won her first Grand Slam title beating Serena Williams in the final.
'I am playing amazing tennis again and feeling just great. It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year', Kerber said afterwards. 'I have had a great week and the final was not easy against Ash but I was able to play my game in important moments.
I feel like I am getting closer to my 2016 level." 'I think the draw was really tough', the former world No. 1 added. 'A lot of tough players was playing here. The draw was also not easy, but I was not seeded, so that was also what I was expecting from the beginning, to have really tough matches.
I came here to just playing match by match, and I was not looking too far ahead. I was just trying to getting used to the weather conditions, as well, because every day was a little bit different: windy, it was hot, and everything.
I'm very proud how I was able to play every single day.' .