Brisbane Final: Victoria Azarenka vs (4) Angelique Kerber
It has been a bizarre week at the Brisbane International, filled with high-profile withdrawals and major upsets, however we are left with a blockbuster final on Saturday night when former champion Victoria Azarenka comes up against Angelique Kerber. This promises to be an epic battle between two ladies that have shown great form this week and who will be desperate to start the year off with a title. Vika and Angie played out one of the matches of the season last year when they met at the U.S Open, hopefully Saturday’s final is similarly entertaining.
Victoria Azarenka has stormed through to her third final at the Brisbane International. The Belarussian is yet to drop a set this week, she has not even come close to dropping a set as she is yet to concede more than three games in any set. It must be said that the draw has ended up being rather kind to Vika, on paper her biggest test came at the quarter-final stage against the eighth seeded Roberta Vinci, Vika passed that test with flying colours as she picked up a convincing 6-1 6-2 victory. The Belarussian advanced to the final courtesy of a 6-0 6-3 demolition-job over American qualifier Samantha Crawford in Friday’s second semi-final. Vika will certainly face a much greater test on Saturday when she comes up against a determined Angelique Kerber in the final.
Angelique Kerber will be competing in her first Brisbane International final on Saturday night as she looks to capture her 8th WTA singles title. The German has progressively improved this week. Angie started the week with a hard-fought three set victory over Camila Giorgi but has barely been troubled since then, recording straight set victories over Madison Brengle, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Carla Suarez Navarro. Angie seems to be hitting her best form at the right time, her best performance of the week thus far came at the semi-final stage on Friday afternoon where she played some brilliant attacking tennis to thump Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-3.
Angie will be desperate to claim victory on Saturday night for a number of reasons. Obviously she wants to win another title but perhaps more importantly she will be searching for her very first victory over Victoria Azarenka, a victory over the former world number 1 will give her a real boost in confidence moving forward in 2016.
Victoria Azarenka holds a perfect 5-0 head-to-head record over the German. However the head-to-head record can be deceiving because these two are actually very evenly matched and have played out a couple of epic encounters in recent times. Most notably a 6-7 7-6 6-4 victory for Azarenka at the WTA Finals in 2012 and a 7-5 2-6 6-4 victory at the U.S Open last year. Both of those matches were among the best matches in that year and really could have gone either way.
This looks like being another really close match between two of the toughest competitors on tour, both will be really looking forward to this match. There is very little to separate the pair, it will come down to who performs best on the day. I believe Angie will finally claim a victory over Azarenka on Saturday. The German seems very relaxed and confident and will be desperate to avoid a sixth consecutive loss to Azarenka, she will no doubt still be hurting after her loss to the Belarussian in New York and will use that as extra motivation heading into this clash. Furthermore I think Angie’s preparation heading into the final has been slightly better given she has played higher quality opponents and seems ready to peak in the final. This should be a memorable final.