Hopman Cup, Belgium vs Germany
?? Elise Mertens vs ?? Angelique Kerber
Angelique Kerber begins her 2018 campaign on new year’s day at the Hopman Cup when she takes on Elise Mertens. 2018 is a big year for Kerber, after a stellar 2016 season that saw Kerber win 2 Grand Slam titles and become world number 1, Kerber struggled in 2017 and fell just outside the top 20. Kerber is changing things up in 2018 by starting her year at the Hopman Cup, her first test will be a tough one when she takes on Belgium’s Elise Mertens.
This will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Mertens. I think this will be a pretty competitive match. Both ladies are great defenders so we will see a lot of long rallies. The key difference in this match-up is that Kerber is the stronger of the pair and will be able to dictate play. Kerber is also more willing to be aggressive and control play from the baseline. In matches like this, Mertens can often try and rely on counterpunching, a tactic that is unlikely to work against Kerber. The fairly quick hard courts in Perth will suit the German as she will be able to end more rallies and control the match. Mertens would be better suited to a slower court.
Furthermore, Kerber is much more experienced when it comes to representing her country. Mertens has little experience representing Belgium on the big stage and in general has not won big matches against top players on the biggest courts. Kerber should eventually get the job done in a tight one.