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Angelique Kerber puts the demons of a hellish 2017 behind her as she targets more Grand Slam glory at Wimbledon

  • Angelique Kerber has recaptured her best tennis in 2018 and is just two wins away from a third Grand Slam title
  • The German went from No. 1 to outside the top 20 during a challenging 2017
Angelique Kerber (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

After enduring a nightmare 2017 season in which she tumbled from World No. 1 to outside the top 20, Angelique Kerber is just two wins away from adding a third Grand Slam title to her trophy cabinet.


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In terms of the tennis roller-coaster ride, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a player who has experienced the ups and downs that Kerber has over the last 30 months.

Cracking the top 10 for the first time in 2012 following a run to Grand Slam semi-finals at Wimbledon that year and the U.S. Open the previous season, Kerber spent the next few years consistently in and around the top 10 players in the world - despite not reaching another major semi-final between 2013-15. However, everything changed in 2016 as the German took her game to another level, saving match points in the opening round of the Australian Open against Misaki Doi before going on to beat Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta and Serena Williams as the seventh seed to secure her maiden Grand Slam title.

Kerber maintained that level throughout the bulk of the season, finishing runner-up to Serena at Wimbledon before going on to defeat Karolina Pliskova for her second major crown at the U.S. Open, ending the year as World No. 1 and the new Queen of women’s tennis. But Kerber, an introverted person who doesn’t seek fame or the limelight, struggled with the new-found pressure, spotlight and expectation the following year - and she dropped from World No. 1 to outside the top 20 as a result, failing to win a title of any description all season as she ended 2017 in tears, exclaiming “I’m so glad this year is over” after her final loss of the season in Zhuhai.

Angelique Kerber (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Such was Kerber’s state, questions were asked if she would ever be able to gather herself and return to the top of women’s tennis. Well the answer was delivered emphatically and quickly as Kerber was able to cut her ranking in half before the first month of 2018 was over, swiftly returning to some of her best tennis during a very fruitful Australian summer where she won all her matches at the Hopman Cup, won her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open at the Apia International in Sydney and made the Australian Open semi-finals, crushing Maria Sharapova before falling in a three-set thriller to Simona Halep. The 30-year-old hasn’t been able to add any more titles to her collection, but she’s been remarkably consistent, reaching at least the quarter-finals of almost every tournament she’s contested and hovering between 9-12 in the rankings over the first six months of the year.

And now Kerber has the golden opportunity to secure her third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon - and break free from many of her contemporaries - including Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka - and move from two majors to three. In a tournament where all the top 10 seeds have crumbled and crashed out before the quarter-finals, Kerber is the highest-ranked player left remaining in the draw, dropping just one set in victories over Vera Zvonareva, Claire Liu, Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina.

With three wins on the bounce over the next generation of women’s tennis, Kerber will take on another young gun for a spot in the Wimbledon final - only this one, Jelena Ostapenko, has already won a Grand Slam title.

"I think it's a big challenge, especially about Ostapenko where I never played against her," Kerber said after her straight sets quarter-final win over Kasatkina. 
"I mean, she won also a Grand Slam. I think it will be really a good match. I think the match starts from zero. I mean, the pressure is not always on my side, since she won a Grand Slam, as well. I think that we are both looking forward to playing the semis."

Whether she wins the semi-finals, the title or goes down to Ostapenko, Kerber has well and truly erased the demons of her 2017 season - and has regathered the belief and confidence she needs to once again be a Grand Slam contender.


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Angelique Kerber puts the demons of a hellish 2017 behind her as she targets more Grand Slam glory at Wimbledon

After enduring a nightmare 2017 season in which she tumbled from World No. 1 to outside the top 20, Angelique Kerber is just two wins away from adding a third Grand Slam title to her trophy cabinet.

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