Angelique Kerber didn’t have a great outing in the fourth round but somehow found a way to win at the Australian Open. Her 6-4, 6-0 win over Annika Beck still produced a new milestone for the German as she moved into the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career.
It was the first time that the Germans had met one another and at a high point in the tournament, a victory would be strong for either player. For Kerber, winning her fourth round match would a step in the right direction having never played in a quarterfinal in the season’s first Grand Slam. With two good wins under her belt, having a good start against Beck will produce positive results.
The opportunity for an upset sat with the 21 year old who hasn’t faced a top 25 player yet. While she maintained straight set wins over her last three opponents, Beck gets her biggest obstacle to either break through or fall under.
In the first game of the set, Beck had a nervous start to her serve but won points in her attempt. Kerber struck well on the returns including a 28 shot rally that gave her the break point win. She built the winning streak against her younger countrywoman but in third, all of that came tumbling. Beck held service on her second try in the set and pushed through the break to get on the board. Her aggression began working in her favor adding a second straight to tie things through four.
The fights on deuce were still being run through by Beck and Kerber as the youngster dictated her will to win. Kerber had to put plenty of effort to get the break and did so after four attempts landing a winner across the court. The level pegging continued between the two Germans that included the eighth game that lasted 11 minutes and five breaks. In the end it was Beck still alive and well as she was going big against Kerber.
The seventh seed won a much needed break in the ninth that had her back on serve hoping to hold it and put all her recent troubles on the back burner. In a clutch performance, Kerber maintained her recent stability on serve to win the set in exactly one hour after Beck committed an backhanded unforced error.
The success paid off huge to start the second set with Kerber riding the course against Beck to lead 2-0. She picked up a second break on the double break as Beck’s poor service and lack of response on the returns had her deep in the hole. It only got worse as Kerber performed beautifully while racing toward the match win.
The ball went into her hands in the sixth looking to hand Beck the bagel. She didn’t have a clean game against her opponent giving her some life at the tail end to force deuce. Kerber made it her last action on court winning things with a slapshot near the net to end the 88-minute struggle at Rod Laver Arena.
“It was a really tough match,” Kerber said to Rene Stubbs during her on court interview. “The first set was very close with up and down breaks and three breaks and I was trying to stay in the match, stay aggressive and I was happy that I won the first set and be aggressive in the second.”
A well-rounded fight including the aggression will be required when she’ll face the winner between Victoria Azarenka and Barbora Strycova on Wednesday.