Top-ranked Kerber stunned
RUSSIAN teenager Daria Kasatkina put Angelique Kerber’s Australian Open preparations in a spin with a straightsets upset win over the world number one at the Sydney International.
The 19-year-old, ranked 26, underlined her huge potential with a confident performance to take out the German, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in a second-round match played in sweltering conditions.
Only last week Kasatkina held a match point before going down to French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in the second round at the Brisbane International.
While she continues her march, Kerber’s form is a concern ahead of next week’s opening Grand Slam of the year, having also lost to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International.
Kerber, who had a breakthrough 2016, winning two Grand Slams on her way to becoming world number one, struggled to find any rhythm and her usually strong forehand was astray.
“I made too many mistakes and I was not actually feeling the ball, because the balls are flying here a little bit different than in Brisbane,” Kerber said.
“So it was not so easy, but I will try to forget the match as soon as I can.
“I will go in the next few days to Melbourne, and I will try to get ready there, trying to get the positive energy from last year.”
Asked about her emotions after her biggest win yet, Kasatkina said courtside: “Difficult to explain because I beat the number one in the world and it doesn’t happen every day. I think I got some confidence.”