Classy Kerber Into Doha Final
Published February 15, 2014 12:14
Prior to this week, Kerber had never been beyond the second round at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, but she has been in fine form on this visit and produced a near-flawless perfomance during her 61 76(6) win over Jankovic.
In a contest between two of the WTA's leading exponents of counterpunching tennis, it was Kerber that was hitting her spots early on, winning 14 of the first 16 points to race into a 4-0 lead.
Jankovic eventually got her name on the scoreboard with a break of her own but there was to be no denying the German, who hit straight back thanks to a pin-point forehand winner down the line before wrapping up the set with a confident hold.
With Kerber in full flow - she hit 12 winners to just four unforced errors in the first set - Jankovic looked in desperate need of inspiration. A fiery exchange with her brother-turned-coach momentarily sparked her into life, yet it was still not enough to outshine Kerber, who left the Serb sitting on the concrete - and seemingly out for the count - with one miraculous running backhand winner midway through the second set.
This trip to the floor proved to be just the wake-up call Jankovic needed, injecting a much-needed sense of urgency into her play and leading to a run of three straight games to force a tie-break.
Kerber, though, was not to be denied, hitting through the nerves to recover from 4-2 down in the tie-break to eventually get over the finish line on her second match point.
"She was playing great at the end," Kerber said. "I think it was a very high level at the end of the second set, and I was just trying to stay aggressive at the important moments and fighting from point to point.
"I was just happy that I won this in two sets at the end."
"I will try to focus on my game," she added. "I will try to play aggressive, move well and just keep a consistent level, like I've played all this week, and use the momentum from today.
"I'm feeling good and I had a great pre-season, so I think everything is healthy, everything is good. So I will just have a long treatment tonight, and then I will be ready for tomorrow, I'm sure."