Kerber blasts past Friedsam

  • David Packman
  • Luke Hemer

Angelique Kerber has made a successful return to Melbourne Park after dismissing her German countrywomen Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-0 6-4 on Tuesday.

The 2016 Australian Open champion has enjoyed a much-welcomed rich vein of form since arriving in Australia, ending a 27-tournament title drought in Sydney last week on the back of an impressive performance at the Hopman Cup in Perth, where she lost just one match in helping Germany to a runners-up finish.  

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“So far it’s been the start of a good season,” Kerber said “I'm just trying to play every single match each. I'm not trying to focus too much on ahead, on the past. I'm just trying to really start again and make the transit, from the practice, from the offseason to the match courts.

“I'm just happy to playing again good tennis.”

Seeded No.21 this year, Kerber wasted no time from the outset, racing through the first set in just 17 minutes before dropping her first game for the match at the beginning of the second. 

From there, she looked set to continue her dominance before the onset of some resistance from Friedsam, who was beginning to look much more at home on the expanses of Hisense Arena.

Unforced errors
17 Angelique Kerber
33 Anna-Lena Friedsam

With more than a little glimpse of the form she showed during her breakout year in 2016 – where she reached a career high of world No.45 – the 23-year-old Friedsam traded blows with Kerber and looked every bit like the shoulder injury which decimated her 2017 season was completely behind her. 

With her opponent drawing level at 4-4, Kerber started to show some signs of frustration but she was able to steady the ship, pushing hard for a well-earned break of serve before closing out the match with aplomb.

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Friedsam had her best result at a major in Kerber’s title-winning year in Melbourne in 2016, reaching the fourth round, but it wasn’t to be this time around, with Kerber repeating the dose from their only other meeting, which came on clay back in 2014.

Competing in her 11th Australian Open, Kerber will turn 30 on Thursday, and face the winner of Croat Donna Vekic and Nao Hibino of Japan on her birthday and she’s more than happy to celebrate the milestone Down Under.

“Everybody knows that I love Australia and I’m always playing good here,” she said. “I'm really happy to be here with all the nice memories from two years ago. It's always great to start the year here.”