Angelique Kerber vs Carina Witthoeft, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open, ?? Second Round Match preview
(1) ?? Angelique Kerber vs ?? Carina Witthoeft

Angelique Kerber made a nervy start to her Australian Open title defense on the opening night of the tournament, the world number 1 was pushed to a third set by Lesia Tsurenko but showed her champion qualities to fight through a tricky situation. Kerber will be hoping for a more commanding performance in the second round when she takes compatriot Carina Witthoeft, an opponent she owned in the past. 

Angelique Kerber has stated in the past that she benefits from tough matches at the opening stages of big events. That was certainly the case for Kerber at the Australian Open last year after saving match point to beat Misaki Doi in the opening round and could again be the case this year after claiming a very hard-fought 6-2 5-7 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko. Kerber was in total control for most the match and served the match at 6-2 5-4 but was broken for the first time in the match. Tsurenko went on to win a string of games and looked good at the start of the decider. Kerber was able to weather the storm and was ultimately too strong when it mattered.

Carina Witthoeft has always been seen as a player with great potential, but has struggled to make a big impact at a big tournament. The 21-year-old is yet to have a big breakthrough tournament and will be hoping for improved results at the Grand Slam level in 2017. Witthoeft booked her spot in the second round in Melbourne with a very tough 7-5 7-6 win over Eri Hozumi.

Kerber holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Hozumi. Kerber thumped her countrywoman 6-0 6-0 at Wimbledon in 2015 but was pushed much harder in 2016 where she won 7-6 (11) 6-1 against at Wimbledon. Kerber should make it a third consecutive straight set win over Witthoeft on Wednesday. Witthoeft is not in good form at the moment and really struggles with consistency during matches whilst Kerber will probably have a better rhythm to her game after a tough opening round win.

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Carina Witthoeft in 2 sets

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