Ashleigh Barty vs Angelique Kerber

Jan 15, 2018, 00:24
Ashleigh Barty vs Angelique Kerber

ASH Barty will need to become the first player to defeat Angelique Kerber in 2018 if she is to win the Sydney International.

Now it's happened, and it's not so easy, actually, to really get used to it-to wake up every morning and tell myself, "Okay, you really are now the no. 1 player in the world". But I'm feeling good - I'm healthy. "I think even though it may not be ideal at the moment, it's still good enough to win matches".

Making the final in Sydney ensures Barty will carry the heaviest expectation at next week's Australian Open, which she enters as Australia's highest-ranked female.

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It is an impressive start to the new year for Kerber, having won her four matches at last week's mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth before her three victories in Sydney. Kerber on form deserves favouritism but Barty should be backed by a strong home crowd and that will give her confidence. Regardless whether you're No.1, No.10, or 100 in the world, it's the best feeling for an Australian to be playing at the Australian Open.

In a momentum-boosting buildup to the Australian Open, which starts Monday, Kerber had wins over Lucie Safarova, No. 2-seeded Venus Williams, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova and Camila Giorgi before beating Barty to claim her 11th career title.

It was the first time an Australian woman featured in the Sydney International final since 2005 when Alicia Molik took the title over Sam Stosur.

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Should Kerber and Sharapova both win their opening two matches, they will square off in a mouth-watering third-round clash made all the more spicy by recent tension between the pair.

Kerber has been drawn to face fellow German Anna-Lena Friedsam in the Australian Open first round, while Barty plays Aryna Sabalenka.

"So now, I just am trying to playing like I played years before and enjoying it again". "I felt like I probably played some of the better tennis that I have this week", Barty said.

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