Kerber Impresses In Washington
Published July 30, 2013 12:00
WASHINGTON DC, USA - Her coach may have thought there was still room for improvement, but to most observers at the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center on Tuesday afternoon Angelique Kerber looked in fine fettle during her first round at the Citi Open.
In her first match since a painful second round exit at Wimbledon, Kerber needed little over an hour to see off American qualifier Irina Falconi, 62 63. The top seed was given little time to savor her success, though, as, on the advice of coach Torben Beltz, she headed straight to the practice court for an impromptu 20-minute session.
"Actually, during the match I wasn't quite 100%," Kerber said about the reasoning behind the last-minute schedule change. "So after the match my coach suggested we hit a little more and I think it was a good idea.
"It's not easy to play at a high level after such a long time without matches and when you have just been practicing. I know I can improve more - my serve was not good today - but of course I'm happy I won today and I am now concentrating on my second round."
Joining her there will be No.3 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who clipped the wings of the high-flying Eugenie Bouchard. At Wimbledon, Bouchard defeated former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic en route to the third round and when she raced into a 4-1 first set lead, another upset looked on the cards.
Over the following 45 minutes, Makarova stopped the rot in spectacular fashion, reeling off nine straight games to snatch the first set and put her in a commanding position in the second. And while her teenage opponent belatedly got her name on the scoreboard, it was merely delaying the inevitable as Makarova wrapped up a 64 62 win moments later with her seventh ace of the match.
"We'd never played against each other before so I really didn't know her game and it was tough to get used to it," Makarova said of her slow start. "It was also the first time I played since Wimbledon and I was a bit nervous because I haven't played many matches.
"At first she was playing really well and really aggressive and I really had to think hard about how I could beat her. Eventually I started to play deeper and tried also to be very aggressive and she started missing a bit more. Still it was very tough and even though the second set looks easy, it wasn't like that at all."
Facing Makarova next will be another talented youngster, Caroline Garcia, after she overcame a nightmare start to defeat Anna Tatishvili, 06 76(5) 64. Also progressing were Madison Keys and Alizé Cornet.