August 2, 2018

Player Feature: Can Angelique Kerber win the 2018 US Open?

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Full Name: Angelique Kerber
Birthdate: January 18, 1988
Country (represents): Germany
Turned Pro: 2003
Current Singles Ranking: #4
Plays: Left
Singles Titles: 11 ITF 12 WTA

Grand Slam Titles:
Wimbledon (2018)
Australian Open (2016)
US Open (2016)

Notable Playing Style and Techniques

– Down-the-line forehand
– Improvisation and unusual strokes
– Uses opponent’s pace and leg strength to redirect power
– Aggressive counter-punching
– Reactive approach to play
– Employs mathematics and analytics
– Astute defensive resolve


Angelique Kerber was born in Bremen northwest Germany and is of Polish-German descent. She caught the “tennis bug” at the young age of three and made her professional debut at 15. In just a year’s time, Kerber was able to bag her first ITF title and top 100 victory at the WTA German Open. The winning streak ran on as she won three more ITFs and a main draw victory at the WTA. She got to compete in her maiden Grand Slam in the 2007 French Open but lost out in the first round to Elena Dementieva. Subsequently, she qualified in the 2010 Australian Open and pulled an upset against Aravane Rezai and Olga Govortsova before facing Svetlana Kuznetsova. She rose to world prominence in the 2011 US Open where she advanced to a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time ever. She eventually lost against No. 9 Samantha Stosur in the semis 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; but her surprising display catapulted her to a career-high rank of No. 34.

Following her ASB Classic and Australian match-ups, Kerber represented Germany in the 2012 Fed Cup along with Julia Gorges, Sabine Lisicki, and Anna-Lena Gronefeld. She won the singles match opposite Lucie Hradecka and brought Germany its sole win in the play-off. She went on to reap successes at the 2012 Open GDF Suez, the 2012 e-Boks Open and the London Olympics. She defeated America’s Serena Williams at the 2012 Western & Southern Open and was featured at World No. 5 at the end of the season. In 2013, she slayed in the Generali Ladies Linz and cemented her third WTA title. From 2015 to 2016, Kerber continued to find victories laid out in her path. She won her fourth WTA at the Family Circle Cup (clay), the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Bank of the West Classic, and her first ever Grand Slam title in the Australian Open. She ended 2016 as World No. 1, toppling Serena Williams.

A drop in the rankings
Things started to go sour for Kerber in 2017. She struggled in form and produced lackluster performances at the Brisbane International. She competed in that year’s Australian Open as the defending champ but failed to keep the title. Her next exhibitions (i.e. Qatar Open, Dubai Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open, French Open, Rogers Cup, Western & Southern Open, Toray Pan Pacific, China Open) were no better. From the top of the world, Kerber flunked right out of the top 20. In much need of a change, the composed player cut ties with longtime coach Torben Beltz.

Wimbledon Comeback
The German pro was not about to let the slide linger. In the 2018 Sydney International, she defeated Ashleigh Barty 4-6, 4-6 and claimed her first title since the 2016 US Open. She reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and returned to the top 10 as World No. 9. Kerber entered Wimbledon as 11th-seed and defeated finalists Vera Zvonarera, Claire Liu, Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic, and Daria Kasatkina on her way to the semifinals. After spectacular showing in the semis against 2017 French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko, Kerber proceeded in the finals to face familiar foe Serena Williams. She overwhelmed the American in 65 minutes, powering through straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to finally lift the Wimbledon silverware. Kerber cleverly moved Williams into awkward positions, inducing more miscues from the latter in the sixth game of Set 2. After the monumental fall last year, Angelique Kerber was able to get back up, becoming the first German woman to win the Wimbledon since her idol Steffi Graf in 1996.

Kerber believes one factor that helped was taking the time off to herself, something she skipped on in 2017 when she was ushered right back into the court in Australia. Hiring data-driven coach Wim Fissette was also paramount to her upturn. Fissette and his team had come up with the stats to improve Kerber’s game this year. She was “serving 75 percent to the backhand” and they immediately went for a higher forehand percentage. In the bid to win another US Open, Kerber may have found the formula. Real-time data and SAP live stats, coupled with her immense drive can get her one more Grand Slam.

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