By Ros Satar, in Esastbourne

  • No, 4 seed Angelique Kerber coasted into the quarter-finals of the Nature Valley International
  • Admitted that Germany’s World Cup progress has made her sweat as they battle to advance to the Last 16
EASTBOURNE, UK – Two-time Eastbourne finalist Angelique Kerber admitted that watching Germany in the World Cup has been a nervous affair, as she eases into the Nature Valley International quarter-finals.

 

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Angelique Kerber has been on a bit of a rollercoaster. Having been a seemingly permanent fixture in the Top 10 for a long time, she rose the World No. 1 spot in 2016 with two Grand Slam titles under her belt in that same year.

However, the pressure of increased commitments and expectations made for a pretty miserable 2017 for Kerber, who found herself dropping from the heights of starting the year as World No. 1 in 2017 to being outside the Top 20 at the start of this year.

Perhaps she is one of those players who has to come from behind. She delivered one of the best matches with Elise Mertens that the team competition of the Hopman Cup, she established herself as one of the contenders for the Australian Open, until she came up against an inspired Simona Halep, and in general 2018 has been a far happier affair.

She said, after her first-round match against 2016 Eastbourne champion Dominika Cibulkova: “I think it was a good match. I think from both of us and at the I end I think just [a] few points I was deciding in the first set and also in the second set. We played so many tough matches so I’m happy that I could win actually the first one on grass.

“I think I had a good start of the year and also the tournaments that came after Australia, I played good. I know that I can play better but I also know that it was a solid year so far for me.”

Throughout 2017 it was evident that the mantle of World No. 1 had sat heavy on the German’s shoulders – but certainly starting the year well out of the spotlight seemed to be the key to Kerber’s success, and her year has been far less of a roller-coaster.

“I think I have a lot of experience now from ups and downs and playing good, playing bad. Also from the tournaments, I play the tournaments already like I don’t know how many years. So now it’s just to put everything together – experience, playing good tennis, but also putting the effort on the practice courts every day to going out to have the motivation to win the matches. I think it’s just the whole process.”

Kerber, like many of the players, has been captivated by the World Cup, although now Kerber will have to be the one to spare Germany’s blushes after they finished bottom of the group, losing to South Korea 2-0 in their last group match. Kerber admitted that until their last-minute winner against Sweden, she was a little worried for their chances.

“I’m watching every day, every night, especially of course Germany and I was a little bit sweating at the end. They always find a way how to win and this is I think which makes Germany strong. I was believing until the end that they can win the match!”

Alas it was not to be for the national side as the defending World Cup champions failed to qualify, but Kerber is establishing herself as one of the favourites for the title in the run up to Wimbledon.

Kerber will face Daria Kasatkina in the quarter-finals of the Nature Valley International on Court 1, not before 5pm (BST).

 

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