Angelique Kerber’s resurgence rightfully comes to Wimbledon


It was the first day of the French Open 2021, and triple major champion Angelique Kerber had just come off the court after his last disappointing loss.

It was her third straight outing in the first round of a Grand Slam, and she had won just eight games all year. Kerber, 33, confessed a German press organ that she had thought about retirement before the start of the season and that her recent play did little to quell speculation on the subject.

Kerber couldn’t hide her frustration and had little response to the loss to Paris, but her attitude changed dramatically when asked about the next major.

“I’m looking forward to Wimbledon, for the grass season, and it sounds a lot better for me,” Kerber said.

As she proved in the first 10 days of the tournament, she had good reason to be happy. Reborn Kerber stood up to No.19 seed and Australian Open semi-finalist on Tuesday Karolina Muchova 6-2, 6-3, and just 24 hours before she beat Coco gauff, also in straight series.

On Thursday, she will play her first major semi-final since Wimbledon in 2018.

“I never [stopped] believe in myself, in my team, ”Kerber said on Tuesday after the quarter-final victory. “For me, I love to play tennis and I love this sport, going there and playing in front of the fans again. I think it also gives me that push to play my best tennis right now.

“I always have in my career [had] highs and lows. I always believed that I could come back because I know what I can [do]. … I never stopped [believing] in me, how I can play. “

Kerber’s career has never been predictable. She made her main draw debut in 2007, but never made it past the second round until 2010. She flew largely under the radar during those early years of touring, and she was often eclipsed. by some of his German peers like Andrea Petkovic, Julia goerges and Sabine Lisicki.

But she continued to work hard and saw her results improve more and more – she qualified for the US Open semifinals in 2011 and won her first WTA title in 2012.

At the relatively advanced age of 28 and nine years after her first major appearance, she won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2016. She went on to win the US Open and reached the final of Wimbledon and Olympic the same year.

She became the oldest player to reach the No. 1 ranking in the world for the first time and took that ranking to the top of the 2017 season. But Kerber failed to reach the quarter-finals in any of the major tournaments. of the new season, dropping her from the top 10.

Kerber rediscovered her form in 2018 with a trip to the semifinals in Melbourne and quarterfinals in Paris. She played spoiler against sentimental favorite Serena williams, in her first major final since giving birth, winning the Wimbledon title 6-3, 6-3. She was back at No. 2 in the world at the end of the year.

Kerber hadn’t gone past the fourth round since.

She injured her left leg at the 2020 Australian Open and did not play again until the season ended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Later at the US Open, her first comeback tournament, she reached the fourth round, but she hasn’t won another game all year.

The 2021 season was shaping up to be more similar.

After the end of her clay court season, in which she won four matches in four events, she relished the chance to play two turf tournaments in Germany in preparation for Wimbledon. Kerber lost in her second match in Berlin, but she found her place in Bad Homburg.

She beat the seed Petra kvitova in the semifinals and eventually won their first title since Wimbledon in 2018 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Katerina Siniakova.

The victory in front of an adoring home crowd invigorated her, and she now leads a 10-game winning streak with her in Thursday’s clash against the world number 1. Ashleigh Barty. Barty won the last meeting between the two and is the punters’ favorite to win the game and the title, entering the semi-finals, but those around the game are not ready to rule Kerber out.

“[Kerber] knows what it takes to win Wimbledon, “analyst and two-time major doubles champion Mary Joe Fernandez said on ESPN on Tuesday.” She’s doing everything right. She doesn’t have the huge weapon to get you off the pitch, but she reads the game great, she anticipates great, redirects, does whatever it takes.

“She has a good feeling on the grass. She also likes the drop shot. It’s going to be interesting, but I like going with people who have experience winning these major championships, so I really like the chances. of Kerber to go through with it. “

After the last point was won in her match against Muchova, Kerber leaned down on her knees and clenched her fists and gave a cheerful, almost childish smile. She then posted a photo of the moment on her Instagram account, writing simply: “This is what it means.”

It was the 80th career turf victory of her career, and she is just hanging around Serena (107) and Venus Williams (97) for most active players. On the pitch after the win, she told the crowd how happy she was to be back at the All England Club after the 2020 tournament was canceled, calling it her “magical place”. After speaking openly about how difficult it was to tour life with all the restrictions and the limited number of fans, it was clear that their presence and support made it all the more enjoyable.

The smile stayed on her face as she left the pitch, greeting fans and soaking up everything.

There were no questions about retirement this time around during his post-game press conference. Less than a month after that painful outing at Roland Garros, Kerber is now two matches away from winning his fourth major title and reclaiming his place among the best in the sport.

She didn’t make any promises on Thursday, just that she just hopes to profit and wants to win.

“When I was a kid I couldn’t wait to play this tournament well and play my best tennis here,” Kerber said. “Now I’m back. I’m coming after [a] really difficult time. I haven’t been playing well the last few months.

“Now winning a home tournament last week, now playing well here again, that means a lot to me.”


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