Angelique Kerber vs Daria Kasatkina, Sydney R2 Preview

Apia International, Sydney R2 Preview
(1) ?? Angelique Kerber vs ?? Daria Kasatkina

Angelique Kerber begins her Apia International campaign on Tuesday with a tricky second round clash against Daria Kasatkina. The top seeded German received a bye into the second round having arrived in Sydney on the back of a disappointing quarter-final loss to Elina Svitolina in Brisbane. It is important for Kerber to get wins under her belt this week in Sydney as she aims to be as prepared as possible to defend her title at Melbourne Park next week.

Angelique Kerber has always been the type of player that thrives on playing a lot of matches, needing these matches to find her rhythm. Therefore, Sydney is an important week for Kerber as she will want to arrive in Melbourne with as many wins to her name as possible. Kerber had a fairly disappointing week in Brisbane, winning her first match over Ash Barty in three sets before suffering another loss to Elina Svitolina, a tight three set loss. The match highlighted the vulnerabilities of Kerber, particularly her weak second serve. Kerber will be hoping to show a higher level in Sydney.

Daria Kasatkina booked her spot in the second round courtesy of a three-set win over Timea Babos. Kasatkina was never really at her best against Babos but was good enough to stay with the Hungarian and eventually her persistence was too much for Babos to handle as the Russian claimed a 3-6 6-4 6-2 win. Kasatkina has made a good start to the season, the 19-year-old was involved in a marathon third set match with Garbine Muguruza at the second round stage in Brisbane last week, ultimately falling short in a third set tiebreak in a very high quality contest.

Angelique Kerber won the only previous match between the pair, a convincing 6-2 6-2 win at the Rogers Cup last year on a hard court. I expect Tuesday’s clash to be a tighter match. Kasatkina has similar strengths to Kerber, both are exceptional movers around the court and are very solid off both sides, both with the ability to be aggressive when they have an opportunity. Kerber is obviously more experienced and is smarter.This is an important match for Kerber and I think she will be motivated and should bring a good level to this match and claim a hard-fought victory, probably requiring a third set. 

Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Daria Kasatkina in 3 sets

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