Simona Halep vs Angelique Kerber, Australian Open SF Preview

Australian Open, 🇦🇺 Semi-Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs 🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber

A blockbuster semi-final clash sees world number 1 Simona Halep take on 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber. It can be argued that Halep and Kerber are the two best players in the world right now. Both have made outstanding starts to the seasons, both are unbeaten in 2018. Halep and Kerber were both extremely impressive in their respective quarter-final victories, Halep stormed past Karolina Pliskova whilst Kerber thrashed Madison Keys. Both will bring a heap of confidence into this match as they do battle for a spot in Saturday’s final at Melbourne Park.

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Simona Halep seems to be peaking at the right time of the tournament. It has been a dramatic week for Halep but the world number 1 seems to be in a good space heading into the semi-finals. Halep came through a couple of scares in the first week, in the opening round she rolled her ankle against Destanee Aiava whilst in the third round she defeated Lauren Davis 4-6 6-4 15-13 in an epic. Halep has gained a heap of momentum and confidence in her last couple of matches where she has beaten Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova in straight sets, both ended in 6-3 6-2 score lines. Halep’s demolition of Pliskova was particularly impressive, after quickly going down 0-3, Halep won 12 of the last 14 games in a dazzling display. Halep’s return of serve was the standout shot as was the Romanian’s ability to hit winner after winner down the line off both sides. Halep will face a very different opponent in the form of Kerber on Thursday.

Angelique Kerber enters the semi-final stage as the favourite to win the title. Kerber is the only one of the 4 remaining contenders to who have won a Grand Slam title. The German is in outstanding form, the type of form that saw her win multiple Grand Slam titles in 2016. Kerber has incredibly won 14 matches in a row to start the new year. In Melbourne Kerber waltzed through the opening week with straight set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam, Donna Vekic and Maria Sharapova. Kerber faced her toughest test in the fourth round where she came from a set down to beat a red-hot Su-Wei Hsieh. Kerber confirmed her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Madison Keys. Kerber controlled the match from start to finish but will face a different task against a determined Simona Halep on Thursday.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. The German has won 4 of the last 5 matches between the pair, most recently a 6-3 6-4 win in Cincinnati in 2016 and a 6-4 6-2 at the WTA Finals Singapore a few months later.

Madison Keys vs Angelique Kerber, Australian Open QF Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 Quarter-Final Preview
🇺🇸 (17) Madison Keys vs 🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber

Madison Keys and Angelique Kerber will renew hostilities when they meet at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open on Wednesday. Kerber has dominated this match-up in recent times, the German has won the last 4 meetings between the pair and overall has won 6 of their 7 meetings. Kerber is in imperious form to start the new year, Kerber heads into this quarter-final clash on an unbeaten 13 match winning streak in 2018. However, if anyone can stop Kerber, perhaps it is an red-hot Keys who has stormed through the draw without dropping a set.

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Madison Keys has wasted little time in reaching the final 8 in Melbourne. Keys is yet to drop a set this week and has rarely even been challenged in a set. Keys has conceded an average of 4.75 games per match heading into the quarter-final stage. The American has claimed wins over Qiang Wang, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Ana Bogdan and Caroline Garcia. It was Madison’s fourth round 6-3 6-2 demolition of the 8th seeded Caroline Garcia that was her most impressive performance of the tournament.

Angelique Kerber is undoubtedly the form player on tour right now. Kerber cruised into the second week at Melbourne Park with straight set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam, Donna Vekic and Maria Sharapova. It was at the fourth round stage where Kerber faced her greatest challenge thus far, surprisingly against Su-Wei Hsieh. Kerber struggled against an inspired opponent for the first set and half but ultimately got on top of Hsieh courtesy of a fierce determination and willingness to go for her shots under pressure, Kerber won 4-6 7-5 6-2. Perhaps this as the tough test Kerber needed to move on to achieve the ultimate glory in Melbourne for a second time.

Kerber has got the better of Keys time and time again. Kerber holds a 6-1 record over the American which includes winning the last 4 matches between the pair. Kerber has won all 5 of the previous matches between the pair on a hard court including a 6-3 6-3 victory in Singapore in 2016 in their most recent match.

Angelique Kerber vs Su-Wei Hsieh, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Angelique Kerber continues to impress in 2018. The 2016 Australian Open champion is in awesome form right now. The German enters this fourth round clash having won all 12 of her matches this year. Kerber will be back in action on Monday where she will take on Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh. Interestingly, this will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Hsieh, this should be an entertaining match-up.

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Angelique Kerber has rolled into the fourth round at Melbourne Park with little fuss. The former world number 1 stormed through her first few matches, cruising past Anna-Lena Friedsam and Donna Vekic. Kerber produced arguably her best performance of 2018 to secure her spot in the round of 16, a dominant 6-1 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova. Kerber was very aggressive and capitalized on her chances at all of the critical moments. Kerber is shaping as the favourite to win the tournament, the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw heading into the round of 16.

Su-Wei Hsieh is playing the best tennis of her life. Hsieh has caused a couple of big upsets to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the second time, the only previous time was a fourth round showing in Melbourne way back 2008. Hsieh started the event with a topsy-turvy 0-6 6-6 8-6 win over Lin Zhu before eliminating the 3rd seeded Garbine Muguruza courtesy of a 7-6 6-4 win, Hsieh’s first win over a top 5 player. Hsieh backed up one of the best wins of her career quite impressively as she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 7-5. At this point of the tournament Hsieh has nothing to lose and a whole heap to gain.

This will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Hsieh.

Angelique Kerber vs Maria Sharapova, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

The match of the tournament thus far sees two former champions at Melbourne Park go head-to-head at the third round stage when Angelique Kerber takes on Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Kerber is the form player on tour right now having won all 11 of her matches in 2018, the German will face a strong test from one of her biggest rivals when she meets a determined Sharapova on Saturday. The Russian enters this match confident after a great straight set win over Anastasija Sevastova. This will be the first meeting between the pair since 2015 where Kerber got the better of Sharapova in Stuttgart.

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Angelique Kerber has cruised through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park. The 21st seed started the week with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam before beating Donna Vekic 6-1 6-4. Kerber is looking very relaxed and confident on at the moment, reminiscent of the Kerber that dominated the tour in 2016. Kerber will face her first real test of the tournament in the third round when she comes up against Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova started her Australian Open campaign with an average performance, beating Tatjana Maria 6-1 6-4. Sharapova really stepped up her level in the next round, playing one of her best matches since her return from a doping suspension to defeat Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 7-6. Sharapova had some trouble closing the match, failing to serve out the match at 5-4. Sharapova rebounded strongly to convincingly win the second set tiebreak. A good victory for Sharapova given her struggles against Sevastova last year, Sharapova certainly improved on her previous performances against Sevastova.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 3 wins apiece. It was Kerber who had the better of Sharapova in their recent matches. Kerber beat Sharapova 7-6 4-6 6-4 at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2-6 7-5 6-1 in Stuttgart in 2015. Both of those matches were of a very high quality, these two usually bring out the best in each other.

Angelique Kerber vs Donna Vekic, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R2 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

Angelique Kerber continues her 2018 Australian Open campaign on Thursday with a second round clash against Donna Vekic. Kerber heads into this match on a 10-match winning streak having won all of her matches at the Hopman Cup and winning the title in Sydney last week. An interesting side note heading into this match is that Vekic is now working with Torben Beltz, Kerber’s long time former coach.

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Kerber is the form player on tour right now, the 2016 Australian Open champion is playing well enough to suggest that she can be a title contender this week in Melbourne. Kerber got off to a brilliant start with a 6-0 6-4 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam. Kerber rocketed through the opening set before facing a tough test from her compatriot. The former world number 1 came up with some brilliant play towards the end of the match to get past the dangerous 23-year-old.

Donna Vekic has made a reasonable start to the new year. Vekic made it to the quarter-final stage in Hobart last week thanks to a few straight set wins over decent opposition. Vekic made a good start in Melbourne, claiming a 7-5 6-3 win over Nao Hibino.

The only previous match between the pair took place last year at the Rogers Cup. Kerber won a hard-fought match 6-4 7-6.

Angelique Kerber vs Anna-Lena Friedsam, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(21) 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber vs 🇩🇪 Anna-Lena Friedsam

Angelique Kerber arrives at Melbourne Park as the form player on tour heading into the first Grand Slam of the season. The 21st seed will start her 2018 Australian Open campaign against compatriot Anna-Lena Friedsam on Tuesday. Kerber had a very poor 2017 but has made an extremely impressive start to her 2018 campaign. Kerber has won 9 matches in lead-up to Melbourne, Kerber claimed her first title since her U.S Open triumph in 2016 by winning the Sydney International last week. If Kerber can bring the form she showed in Sydney to Melbourne, she will be one of the main contenders for the title over the next fortnight.

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Angelique Kerber’s struggles in 2017 were well documented. The signs are that those struggles are behind Kerber as the German showed signs of her 2016 form during the first 2 weeks of the new year. Kerber amassed a perfect 4-0 record at the Hopman Cup before heading to Sydney where she won her first title since 2016. Over the those two weeks, Kerber claimed notable victories over Elise Mertens, Belinda Bencic, Lucie Safarova, Venus Williams, Dominika Cibulkova and Ashleigh Barty amongst others. Not a bad list of scalps heading into the first major of the year. Kerber seems relaxed and fit, importantly she seems to be very motivated again which makes her a real threat.

Anna-Lena Friedsam made her comeback to the WTA tour late last year after over a year on the side-lines due to injury. Friedsam had some success late last year, coming through the qualifying draw to win the ITF 25K event in Shrewsbury. In 2018 the German started her season last week in Hobart. Friedsam was able to claim her first tour level victory since Wimbledon 2016 with a hard-fought 3 set win over Alison Van Uytvanck. The 23-year-old was beaten in the second round by eventual finalist Mihaela Buzarnescu in 2 tight sets.

The only previous match between the pair took place on clay in Nuremburg in 2014, Kerber won that match 6-2 7-6. On paper, this is a big mismatch, Kerber is ranked over 300 places above Friedsam and is in superb form. However, it may not be that easy, Friedsam is very talented and capable of playing great tennis, we saw that in 2016 when Friedsam reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

Angelique Kerber vs Ashleigh Barty, Sydney Final Preview

Sydney International 🇦🇺🦈 Final Preview
🇦🇺 Ashleigh Barty vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Ashleigh Barty and Angelique Kerber will do battle in a blockbuster final at the Sydney International on Saturday evening. Barty and Kerber both enter this final in awesome form, particularly Kerber who has won her first 8 matches to begin 2018. Ash Barty will have the support of the home crowd. Barty is the first Aussie into the final at the Sydney International since Aussie duo Alicia Molik and Samantha Stosur contested the 2005 championship. Can Kerber silence the crowd and complete the perfect start to her 2018 campaign?

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Ash Barty made a poor start to the season in Brisbane with an opening round loss but has rebounded strongly in Sydney. The Aussie number 1 started the event in nervy fashion with unconvincing straight set wins over Veronica Cepede Royg and Ellen Perez. Barty produced her most impressive performance of the week at the quarter-final stage where she trashed Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-0. The 21-year-old confirmed her spot in her first final on home soil with a 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Daria Gavrilova in what was a scrappy match.

Angelique Kerber continues to impress. Gone is the unmotivated 2017 Kerber, the German is resembling the player that took the tour by storm in 2016. Kerber arrived in Sydney full of confidence having won all 4 of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup last week in straight sets. Kerber started her Sydney campaign with tough 3 set wins over Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams. Kerber’s performances have improved towards the business end of the event, beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-1 before confirming her spot in a second Sydney final with a 6-2 6-3 win over an in-form Camila Giorgi. Kerber turned a 0-3, 15-40 deficit into a 6-3 set victory in the second set against Giorgi.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece, both matches were in 2017. Kerber defeated Barty in Brisbane in 3 sets at the start of the season whilst more recently Barty defeated Kerber 6-3 6-4 at the season ending event in Zhuhai. Who will win their all important third meeting and head to Melbourne on the ultimate high?

Dominika Cibulkova vs Angelique Kerber, Sydney QF Preview

Sydney International 🇦🇺🦈 QF Preview
🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the Sydney International sees Dominika Cibulkova and Angelique Kerber renew hostilities. Cibulkova and Kerber have built up quite the rivalry over the years, the head-to-head record between the pair heading into this exciting quarter-final match is split at 5 wins apiece. Angelique Kerber has been the form player on tour to start the new year having won all 6 of her matches including 2 impressive wins in Sydney over quality opponents. Kerber will face perhaps her biggest test of the summer thus far when she comes up against the feisty Slovakian on Thursday.

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Dominika Cibulkova has been very impressive this week in Sydney. Cibulkova did not compete last week and arrived in Sydney under pressure to perform well amidst a very tough draw. Cibulkova took down the in-form 8th seeded Anastasija Sevastova in the opening round with a clinical 6-3 6-1 victory. Cibulkova was not as consistent in her 6-4 6-4 second round win over Elena Vesnina but the Slovakian raised her level at the business end of each set to ensure she navigated her way through with a straight set win.

Angelique Kerber’s resurgence continues to gain momentum. Kerber arrived in Sydney in great form having won all 4 of her singles matches in straight sets last week at the Hopman Cup. In Sydney, Kerber has not necessarily been playing as well, certainly not as consistently but she has battled her way to a couple of 3 set wins over very difficult opponents. Kerber started the week in Sydney with a 6-7 7-6 6-2 win over Lucie Safarova, Kerber saved 2 match points in the second set tiebreak. In the second round, Kerber looked down and out after losing 4 consecutive games to drop the opening set. However, the German rallied to claim a 5-7 6-3 6-1 win over the veteran American. Two important wins for Kerber.

As mentioned above, the head-to-head record between the pair is split at 5 win apiece. Kerber has had the better of Cibulkova In recent times having won 5 of their last 6 matches. However, it was Cibulkova who won their most recent match, a 6-3 6-4 victory in the final of the 2016 WTA Finals in Singapore, the biggest win of Cibulkova’s career.

Lucie Safarova vs Angelique Kerber, Sydney R1 Preview

Sydney International. R1 Preview
🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber arrives in Sydney in superb form. The former Sydney International finalist had the perfect first week to the season, winning all 4 of her singles matches at the Hopman Cup, all in straight sets. There were signs that Kerber could be back to her 2016 self, the German will look to continue to build momentum in Sydney where she will face a tough opening round test against Lucie Safarova.

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Kerber’s lacklustre 2017 season was well documented after a superb 2016 saw her rise to number 1 in the world and win 2 Grand Slam titles. Kerber changed things up to start 2018 by starting her year at the Hopman Cup for the first time. It seemed to be a good move for Kerber who won all 4 of her singles matches, straight set wins over Elise Mertens, Eugenie Bouchard, Daria Gavrilova and Belinda Bencic. Kerber looked extremely sharp, calm, motivated and focused and played some of the best tennis we have seen from her in over a year, especially in her 6-4 6-1 demolition of Bencic in the final.

Lucie Safarova will be making her 2018 debut in Sydney. Safarova had an inconsistent year in 2017 but showed signs of better form towards the end of the year on hard courts. After a solid pre-season, Safarova will be keen to rise back up the rankings in 2018.

Safarova holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Kerber. Safarova has won the last two matches between the two, both on a hard court. A 6-4 6-3 win for Safarova at the WTA Finals in 2015 was their latest clash. Kerber’s form in Perth suggests she has a good chance to equal the head-to-head record in Sydney.

Eugenie Bouchard vs Angelique Kerber, Hopman Cup Preview

Hopman Cup Preview, Canada vs Germany
🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

Eugenie Bouchard and Angelique Kerber made contrasting starts to their Hopman Cup campaigns. Bouchard was pretty disappointing in a straight set loss to Daria Gavrilova whilst Kerber won a high level encounter over Elise Mertens in 2 tight sets. Interestingly, it is Bouchard who has had a lot of success in this match-up, Bouchard holds a 4-2 head-to-head record.

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Eugenie Bouchard was uncompetitive for the most part in her opening match at the Hopman Cup. Gavrilova defeated Burchard 6-1 6-4, the Aussie made the Canadian look second-rate for the majority of the match. Bouchard is clearly still lacking in confidence, Bouchard has lost 12 of her last 14 matches.

Angelique Kerber made an impressive debut at the Hopman Cup. Kerber got Germany off to a winning start by claiming an impressive 7-6 7-6 win over Elise Mertens. It was a very high quality encounter, Kerber was the tougher of the two in the critical moments, experience seemed to get Kerber over the line. Kerber also won the deciding mixed doubles tie alongside Alexander Zverev.

Bouchard has won 4 of the last 5 matches against Kerber, a surprising record given where these two stand in the game. Most recently, Bouchard led Kerber 6-3 5-0 in Madrid last year before the German retired. Kerber will be determined to turn her poor record against Bouchard again, can she get the better of the Canadian in Perth?

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