Monday, 25 January 2016

Kerber conquers Beck

Seventh seed Angelique Kerber had fourth round duties against fellow German Annika Beck.  The 55th ranked player had upset 11th seed Timea Bacsinszky in round one and so this would not be a walk in the park for Kerber.

Beck double faulted on the way to losing serve in the opening game of set one.  Kerber hit a backhand and a forehand winner to make it 2-0 before Beck was on the board at 1-2, hitting a winning backhand of her own.

Kerber saved three break points in the fourth game, one with an ace, but Beck created a fourth chance and Kerber couldn't deny this one, games now 2-2.  Beck lost her momentum with a double fault and unforced errors taking her to 0-40.  She fought back to deuce, but failed to prevent a break of serve and trailed 2-3.

A controversial and seemingly incorrect call by the umpire when Kerber was at game point in the sixth game seemed to unnerve the normally cool seventh seed and she double faulted at deuce, ultimately dropping serve and games were 3-3.  However she struck back immediately, taking the first break opportunity to lead 4-3
Having broken serve for 4-3, Kerber needed to consolidate.  30-30 all based on unforced errors.  Break point was created and saved, again both from unforced errors.  Finally a winner from Kerber gave her game point. This was saved due to a strong Beck ground stroke forcing a mistake from Kerber.  Four deuces and this game was becoming increasingly critical in the scheme of things. A forehand winner from Beck gave us a fifth deuce and another set up break point. A volley put away sealed the break back and games were 4-4.

Beck showed her pace around the court and led 30-0. A forehand winner from Kerber followed by another levelled at 30-30 and a forehand volley gave break point.  An error from Kerber saved Beck but only for a moment as she netted a ground stroke.  This break point also vanished, and a double fault replaced it. The break came this time and Kerber led 5-4 with her serve to come for the set.

First point to Beck.  15-30 and Kerber struggling a little.  A winning forehand steadied things and set point came with a Beck error.  Another backhand out of court from Annika signalled an end to the set.
6-4 to Angilique Kerber, but the match was close and Annika was still a chance.

Kerber struck straight away and broke the Beck serve to lead 1-0.  A forehand put away at the net together with a forehand smash drove Kerber to win her serve and edge away 2-0, despite a double fault interfering, and a visit to deuce.

Kerber hitting more winners was now having a real effect on the match. Beck faced 15-30 and then a brilliant forehand down the line brought up break point. The break came and the seventh seed was in front 3-0 with two breaks.

Unforced errors from Beck were well received by Kerber, not so the forehand winner and it was 30-15. Kerber's forehand winner was a fine reply and her backhand won the game. 4-0.

A stunning backhand return winner from Kerber and backhand winner down the line were followed by a forehand pass.  This led to 0-40 and three break points.  Another return winner confirmed the break and a 5-0 advantage.

Angelique Kerber served out the set to win the match 6-4 6-0 and this form augurs well for the quarter finals. It will need to be at least this good because her likely opponent will be Vika Azarenka who thrashed her in Brisbane just the other week.

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