Angelique Kerber reached the round of 16 at the US Open without much difficulty. The 32-year-old beat the 20-year-old American Ann Li 6: 3, 6: 4 in New York on Friday, and thus survived the third round in Flushing Meadows for the fifth time in her tennis career.
Concentrated, consistent, callous: tennis star Angelique Kerber has marched into the round of 16 of the US Open and is becoming an increasingly secret favorite in her 50th Grand Slam tournament. The Kiel woman prevailed confidently against the twelve years younger, unseeded US American, and remained without losing a set. After 1:16 hours of play, the German number one used their first match ball.
“It was a tough match. I followed my plan and I’m very happy to be in the round of 16,” said Kerber in the first interview after the win: “It’s always a special place here for me.”
The draw makes the fans of the best German tennis player rejoice. The three-time major winner will also be the favorite in the round of 16. Kerber will face American Jennifer Brady on Sunday, who defeated Caroline Garcia from France 6: 3, 6: 3.
It was a tough match. I followed my plan and I’m very happy to be in the round of 16.
“It has opened up very much for the next two or three rounds,” said Barbara Rittner, Head of Women’s Tennis at the German Tennis Association (DTB), about Kerber’s prospects even before the start of the game at Eurosport.
Li, world number 128, had surprisingly beaten her number 13 compatriot Alison Riske in the second round. Since top favorite Karolina Pliskova (the Czech Republic / No. 1) also had to pack her bags early, Kerber’s prospects in the upper half of the tableau are now brilliant.
Mainly because Kerber looks good on her first appearances since the Australian Open. She is fit, aggressive. Even if the 2016 tournament winner always stressed in public: “I don’t look too far ahead.”
Against Li, Kerber, who had eliminated Alja Tomljanovic (Australia) and Anna-Lena Friedsam (Neuwied) in the previous rounds, started extremely focused. She involved the American in long rallies and immediately made the break at the start.
A strong physique remains the key
The roles were then clearly divided: Li put enormous pressure on the baseline and went for Winner. Kerber held against it with her strong physique. With a score of 3: 2, she fended off break balls and then wiped the sweat from her forehead at around 30 degrees in the shade. After 34 minutes she managed to win the first set with a second break.
I was far from defeated. The highly talented young athlete attacked uncompromisingly at every opportunity, Kerber had to remain extremely vigilant. The body language was right. Kerber celebrated the 2-1 win with a loud “Come on now” and then took the service from the outsider. Coach Torben Beltz applauded with great satisfaction in the stands.
Kerber seemed to control what was happening, but then let himself be breached and Li sensed her chance again. Kerber stayed calm, played out her experience and can continue to cause a sensation in New York.