2009 champion finding rich vein of form after injury years
Kerber more aggressive and focused
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Fourth seed Angelique Kerber will face 2009 champion Victoria Azarenka for the season opening title in Brisbane.
For a tournament that started the week in rain, the conditions made murkier by the withdrawal of its defending champion Maria Sharapova, shortly before she was due to have her opening match, matched by top seed Simona Halep’s withdrawal around 60 minutes after, we have actually ended up with a pretty good final.
Along the way a potential new star is on the rise with giggly teenager Samantha Crawford – a qualifier who stunned Belinda Bencic, and then repeated the whole affair with Andrea Petkovic.
Well she might have thought that lightning would strike a third time, if the nerves and tension that befell Azarenka in her opener against lucky loser Ysaline Bonaventure were anything to go by. But this time around, Azarenka was more ‘curious’ about her semi-final and came raring out of the blocks crushing the qualifier for the loss of just three games.
Kerber has been equally impressive, despite an opening round hiccup against Camila Giorgi, dropping the first set before settling down. Traditionally one of the perennial ‘runners’ on a court, she admitted that she can’t quite let that aspect of her game go, but has been focusing more on the aggressive play, and it seems to be working.
It’s time that Azarenka was back and trying for titles and was no longer the danger in the draw. We had been all set for a mouth-watering second round match up with Halep, and we had picked her for our tournament upsetter. We were half way there!
The pair have had some gruelling matches in the past including perhaps the best match of the US Open last year in the third round, where Azarenka prevailed a little short of three hours.
This really could be another one of their epics. Both seem to have a lot more confidence coming in to a season that has already started with the Top 5 WTA stars withdrawing in their season openers. Perhaps this swing is where the meek and the ones regaining their status in the rankings inherit this little corner of sunny earth?
Azarenka and Kerber are scheduled on Pat Rafter Arena, not before 7:30pm (9:30 am GMT).
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