Sydney R2: (4) Angelique Kerber vs Ekaterina Makarova
Angelique Kerber will look to continue her strong start to the season on Tuesday when she comes up against Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the APIA International in Sydney. Angie will be confident she can keep her winning momentum going here given her strong recent record against the Russian, Angie has won the last four meetings between the pair.
Angie made a great start to the season in Brisbane last week where she reached the final of the event for the very first time before succumbing to a red-hot Victoria Azarenka. It was a busy week for the German, she also reached the doubles final alongside Andrea Petkovic.
Angie’s first round match in Sydney was a tough one, the German recorded a very hard-fought 4-6 6-0 6-3 victory over Elina Svitolina. The match was played in the heat of the day, Angie was really struggling towards the end of the first set and received a lengthy medical timeout after losing the first set. It seemed like Angie would retire but the German fought back tremendously well to blitz Elina in the second and third sets. A trademark performance by Kerber.
Ekaterina Makarova’s progression through to the second round was far more straightforward. Ekaterina recorded a convincing 6-2 6-1 victory over Lucie Hradecka in just under an hour. Makarova showed decent form last week in Brisbane where she recorded a tough three set victory over Gasparyan before succumbing to Petkovic in the second round.
Angie and Ekaterina have a long history. Angie leads the head-to-head 7-4 and has won their 4 most recent clashes. The last 3 matches between the pair have been easy straight set wins for Angie, including a 6-3 6-2 victory in Stuttgart last year in their most recent clash.
Angie’s fitness is a concern heading into this match given the amount of tennis she has played in the last week. However the German stated after her first round win over Svitolina that her body was feeling fine and that she wants to play as many matches as possible in Australia. Taking that into account, I believe Angie will be too strong for Ekaterina here. Angie matches up well against Makarova and has been in far better form so far in 2016. Makarova is still quite rusty, I don’t think she is at a level to beat someone like Kerber.