?? Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, R1 Preview
?? (6) Angelique Kerber vs ?? Barbora Strycova
An in-form Angelique Kerber will look to continue her recent dominance of Barbora Strycova when the pair meet at the opening round stage of the Dubai Duty Free Championships on Tuesday. Kerber has been one of the most consistent players in 2018 and is seemingly back to her damaging best at the moment. The German has a dominant 6-1 head-to-head record over Strycova and will be favoured to extend that record here.
Angelique Kerber has lost just 2 matches in 2018. Kerber had a perfect 4-0 record at the Hopman Cup before winning the title in Sydney and reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open. More recently, Kerber reached the quarter-finals in Doha last week where she was beaten Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets. Kerber would have been disappointed with that loss, a match she probably should have won given the number of times she was in a dominant position, just like her loss to Simona Halep at the Australian Open. Kerber looms as the favourite to win the title this week in Dubai.
Barbora Strycova has made a typically consistent but unspectacular start to the season. Strycova had a good Australian summer, highlighted by a round of 16 appearance at the Australian Open and back-to-back quarter-final showings in Auckland and Sydney. More recently Strycova was eliminated in the second round in Doha last week, Strycova beat Krunic in straight sets before succumbing to Julia Goerges in 3 sets. Strycova is a former finalist in Dubai so she certainly enjoys competing at this event.
Kerber has a dominant 6-1 head-to-head advantage over Strycova. Kerber has won all 5 of the previous matches between the pair on a hard court, all in straight sets, including a 6-3 7-6 win in Beijing in 2016 in their most recent match. Can Strycova reverse this trend and cause a big upset?