The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Cool Sport

Top-ranked Kerber stunned

- Russian teen

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.”

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