Sunday, 16 July 2017

Angelique Kerber at Miami Tournament

Germany's Angelique Kerber heads into this week's Miami Open in the unusual position of having regained the world number one ranking despite a disappointing start to the season. 29-year-old says her newly gained status will not add any extra pressure as she seeks to secure her first tournament win of 2017.

Kerber lost top spot to Serena Williams after the American won the Australian Open in January, but the 23-time Grand Slam winner's knee injury forced her out of Indian Wells earlier this month and the Miami tournament. Kerber is guaranteed two more weeks in the top spot, which will give her a total of 23 one more than five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.

"I am number one again but this is not what is really important for me. What is important is that I go out and play good matches, that is why I am here," Kerber told reporters on Tuesday.

"She went out of the box in big matches that she won last year; she took more chances. She played more fearless tennis. She went for more shots.

"I think it's all in her head, and it is a big adjustment to have that number one bullseye on your back and to continue to play with the fearlessness that it took for her to get there," said Evert, now an ESPN television analyst.

 Top seeds:

No. 1 Angelique Kerber: It's been a relatively tough start to 2017 for the 29-year-old German, who sports a 9-6 record (no titles) and two losses to Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina. Kerber, who has never been to either final of the marquee March American hard-court duo, could face Kasatkina in her second match.

Simona Halep: It's been a disappointing 2017 for the 2014 French Open finalist, who has a 3-3 record. That includes a first-round loss at the Australian Open (Shelby Rogers) and a third-rounder at Indian Wells to Mladenovic.

Kerber has also failed to beat a top-20 ranked player this year, raising questions about her form after a stellar 2016 in which she won the Australian Open and the US Open and was runner-up at Wimbledon.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: It's a brutal draw for the rejuvenated 31-year-old Indian Wells finalist. She might have to get past Mladenovic or Venus and, possibly, Kerber to reach the semifinals.


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