Istanbul Profile: Angelique Kerber
Published October 14, 2013 12:01
Highlights: Linz (champion), Tokyo (runner-up), Monterrey (runner-up)
Grand Slam Performances: Australian Open (fourth round), French Open (fourth round), Wimbledon (second round), US Open (fourth round)
Win/Loss Record: 44-21
Record Against Top 10: 2-4
WTA Championships History: round robin (2012)
At the end of the summer hardcourt season, Angelique Kerber's presence at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul - not to mention her place in the Top 10 - looked in serious jeopardy.
However, as the campaign entered its home straight, a run of 13 wins in 16 matches reinvigorated the German and booked her a place at the season-ending showpiece for the second straight year.
Kerber went into the season with plenty of momentum on the back of a breakthrough 2012, highlighted by a Top 10 debut and her first two career titles. And she showed no sign of slowing down in January, reaching the semifinals in Sydney before losing a close encounter with Ekaterina Makarova in the last 16 of the Australian Open.
This upset, though, began a mid-season slumber from which she would not awaken until the spring, when she reached the semifinals at Indian Wells. Her first final of the campaign would soon follow, in Monterrey, where she finished on the wrong side of an absorbing three-setter with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Just a few weeks later she renewed acquaintances with Pavlyuchenkova on the clay of Stuttgart. This time she came out on top to start a run that was ended by eventual champion Maria Sharapova in the semifinals.
Despite her promising form in the lead up to the tournament, her French Open campaign ended in another tough loss, a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova tripping her up in the fourth round. Further heartbreak was to come at Wimbledon and then the US Open, as Kerber's season looked in danger of petering out.
The turnaround was as sudden as it was impressive, as the 25-year-old offered a timely reminder of her considerable talents with an impressive showing in Tokyo. Consecutive wins over Ana Ivanovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki took Kerber into an unexpected final, where she was pipped to trophy by Petra Kvitova in yet another three set rollercoaster.
These points catapulted her from outsider to favorite in the race for the final spot in Istanbul. A quarterfinal at the Premier Mandatory in Beijing edged her closer before making it over the line - and warming up nicely for the tournament itself - with victory on the indoor courts of Linz.
"I'm very excited to take the last spot for Istanbul and be there for the second time in a row," Kerber said after qualifying on Friday. "I'm really excited about it and I'm looking forward to playing there. The fans last year were amazing. To compete with such great players - the others are all Top 8 - it's a great feeling.
"I'm happy to have had such a consistent year, and I'm really proud to be ending my year there."