Saturday, 30 January 2016

Angie Kerber stuns Serena for AusOpen16

On paper the 2016 Aus Ooen women's singles final appeared a mismatch, as most clashes featuring Serena Williams do.  However first time GS singles tournament finalist Angie Kerber had performed especially well and her effort against two time winner Vika Azarenka must have given her a confidence with which to enter the final, rather than the normal trepidation associated with a Serena meeting.

Serena and GS success is amazing, but less surprising as time goes by.  The 2015 US Open was a blip in proceedings, and a warning to all other players on tour.  Not gonna happen again !  

Players that lose to Serena in finals at grand slam level tend to not come back again for another crack at the great one.  Since and including the 2008 US Open she has won 13 GS titles and of those, there have been 11 defeated opponents.  Only Sharapova and Azarenka have lost twice to her in finals in that period.  Incredible statistic.  And Angie could be number 12.  I can't see any logical reason why Serena will lose, other than a complete reversal of her form or an injury.  Anything Kerber has in the way of weapons is more than covered by the power and pace of Williams.  Her first set exhibition against an in form Radwanska in the semis was clear evidence of that.

Serena served first and immediately had a love game with first serves the key, attacking from the start.
Angie served and won the first point with a Serena return long. The next point saw Serena forcing an error and 15-15.  Double fault and 15-30.  Serena sprayed her backhand and 30-30. An ace gave Angie game point and she proceeded to hold serve for 1-1.

Serena missed a forehand wide but a sizzling backhand winner and 15-15.  An awesome backhand crosscourt winner from Angie and 15-30. Serena netted a backhand and the first break points were Angie's.  A long backhand from the champ donated the service break and Angie led 2-1 in a surprise beginning to the final.

Serena hit a volley long and Angie led 15-0.  A forehand crosscourt drew an error and 15-15.  A poor forehand was way long from Serena and 30-15, and the next one found the net.  Angie led 40-30 after a stunning Serena return winner. Game to Angie with an overhead winner. 3-1 the lead.  Serena was forced into error thanks to a backhand from Angie. 0-30 with a wide Serena forehand.  Finally a backhand winner and 15-30.  Another backhand winner and it seemed the facsimile had been replaced with the real thing just arriving at the court from her hotel.  Deuce following a forehand Serena mistake.  Drop shot perfection and game point.  Big serve and the top seed trailed 2-3.

Could the actual Serena break back after her late appearance had cost her dearly in the first few games ?  0-15 Forehand wide from Angie.  Backhand winner from Germany and 15-15. Serena forehand wide and 30-15.  A typical Serena forehand winner behind Angie and 30-30.  Game point following a netted shot from Serena.  Backhand return too much and deuce.  Serena attacking throughput the rally and eventually Angie hit long.  Serena converted the break point with a brutal forehand return winner.  3-3.

Forehand into the net by Angie and Serena had 15-0.  Double fault for 15-15.  Fine forehand deep from Angie forced an error and 15-30.  Great rally and forehand netted by Angie. 30-30. Break point after a wild backhand went into the MCG.  An even wilder volley and Serena was broken again giving Angie a 4-3 advantage.  Serena needed a spark.  A poor backhand netted by her wasn't it.  Maybe the slashing backhand return winner was. The forehand error was typical of tonight's performance so far and another one gave Angie 40-15.  A terrible backhand by a messy top seed and Angie was ahead 5-3.

Serena hit another forehand way long and had 0-15.  A forehand winner down the line winner 15-15.  A backhand winner for 30-15.  Serena was noisy now.  A return long and game points.  40-30 as Serena hit long again.  Serve held and Angie led 5-4 to serve for the set.  Certainly not in the script.

15-0 after another unforced Serena error.  Finding the net again twice Serena was facing three set points.  The set was Angie Kerber's 6-4 and thoughts were flooding back to Serena's last loss in a final.  That was in 2011 to Sam Stosur and Angie is a higher credentialed opponent so Serena's task to fight back would be very tough.

Serena served first in set two and had 15-15.  A drive volley and 30-15.  Angie hit long and 40-15.  A forehand winner and Serena led 1-0.  A forehand crosscourt winner from Serena and 0-15.  Big service winner and 15-15.  Serena done at the net and 30-15.  Volley put away by Serena and 30-30.  Ace for game point.  Serve held and 1-1.  Return long and Serena 15-0.  Forehand smash winner 30-0. Backhand winner by Angie 30-15. Serena sent one long 30-30.  Forehand winner by Serena and game point.  Backhand winner and serve held.  2-1 Serena.

Angie serving and double fault 0-15.  Forehand netted by Angie 0-30.  Double fault and three break points.  One saved with forehand winner.  Serena netted a backhand.  Angie hit a backhand long and the break arrived.  3-1 Serena.  A wonderful forehand pass by Angie and 0-15.  A Serena forehand long and 0-30.  Serena forced the error with a solid backhand and an ace gave her 30-30.  Good serving allowed the service hold and a 4-1 lead for the top seed.

A backhand long and 0-15 for Angie.  A forehand forced the Serena error and 15-15.  Ace for 30-15.  Stunning backhand down the line winner from Serena for 30-30.  Serena netted for game point.  Serve held and 4-2 Serena.  Angie netted a forehand and Serena had 15-0. Nice forehand in the corner for 30-0. Ace for 40-0.  Double fault and 40-15.  Backhand long by Serena and 40-30.  Excellent volley and Serena led 5-2.

0-30 for Angie after an attacking rally from Serena finally forced the error.  Netted backhand from Serena and 15-30.  Netted return and then an ace 40-30.  A forehand winner from Angie and 3-5. Serena serving for the set.

15-0 with a forehand winner by the top seed. Double fault and 15-15.  Ace and 30-15.  Return well long and two set points.  Netted forehand from Angie and the set was won.
Serena Williams tied things taking set two 6-3 but Angie would be serving first in the decider.

Angie hit a winner and led 15-0. Service winner for 40-0.  Forehand sizzler from Serena for 40-15.  Forehand down the line winner for the game and 1-0 Angie.  Forehand long and Serena was down 0-15.  Backhand trouble for Serena at the net and 0-30. A forehand winner by Angie for three break points.  Applauded by Serena.  Another forehand down the line and the break was hers.  2-0 Angie.  Angie 0-15 after a netted shot.  0-30 after Angie found the net again.  Ace for 15-30.  Two break points after Serena's return forced error.  One saved.  Another awesome return and the break back straight away.  2-1 Angie.

Forehand crosscourt winner by Angie just brilliant and 0-15.  Backhand winner from Serena and 15-15. Wonderful forehand winner from Serena for 30-15.  Tennis great and Serena's backhand winner and big ace sealing the game for 2-2.  Angie 15-0 with Serena into the net.  30-0 after the same result. Forehand magic from the top seed and 30-15.  Crosscourt forehand winner from Serena and 30-30.  Backhand out from Serena and game point. Serve held and 3-2 Angie.

Ground stroke wide from Serena and 0-15.  Forehand winner behind Angie and 15-15.  Serena cleaned up at the net again 15-30.  Danger time as Serena finds the net with forehand.  Two break points.  Great rally and Serena won the point with a forehand volley put away.  One break point saved. Ace and deuce.  Break point again with Angie's forehand winner.  Deuce with a Serena backhand gem.  Ace for game point.  Drop shot winner by Angie and deuce.  Double fault and break point #5.  Saved with a netted. Angie shot.  Game point with another netted shot from the 7th seed.  Deuce once more with a repeat drop shot winner from Angie.  Double fault and break point chance yet again.  Serena hit long and the break came.  Angie led 4-2 with serve to come.

15-0 with Serena forehand long.  Another one long and 30-0.  Ace and 40-0.  Game and 5-2 Angie.  Serena needing to hold to stay in the match.  Double fault and 0-15 Serena.  Backhand beautiful from Serena and 15-15.  Forehand volley winner and 30-15.  Netted backhand by Serena and 30-30.  Ace for 40-30.  Game to Serena and 5-3 Angie.

Serving for the title.  0-15 after Angie's forehand went long.  Forehand wide and 0-30.  Serena's backhand went long and 15-30.  Serena hit a magic crosscourt forehand winner for 15-40 and two break points. One saved by a Serena netted backhand.  Forehand long and the break back for a 5-4 lead to Angie.  A lifeline for Serena. 0-15 with a backhand into the net.  0-30 with the net the enemy again.  Ace for 15-30.  Awesome backhand crosscourt winner from Serena for 30-30.  Serena with a backhand winner for game point. Great return forced the error and deuce.  Netted forehand from Serena and match point.  Serena hit long and the upset was complete.

Angelique Kerber defeated Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4 to win the 2016 Australian Open Women's Singles title, her first Grand Slam title in her first major final.  Serena lost only her fifth major final from twenty six appearances and this was her first defeat in a Melbourne Park final.

Kerber was a revelation the way she took it to the world number one and to have Serena challenged in that way was great for women's tennis.

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