Angelique Kerber brandished her credentials as a title contender at the Australian Open with a straight-forward 6-2, 6-2 victory against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on Monday.
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The Wimbledon champion minimised her time under the hot sun, where temperatures surpassed 30 degrees celsius (86°F) during the day-time matches in Melbourne.
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She thus secured the straight sets win in just over an hour.
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Her opponent, a former top-50 player, was too erratic to trouble the three-times Grand Slam winner, committing almost three times as many unforced errors as Kerber.
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She said her form improved during the match and her ball-striking was not side-tracked by the at-times inconsistent opponent.
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“I played a lot of matches here already in Australia … I have my rhythm,” said Kerber, who played lead-up events in both Perth and Sydney.
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Kerber was rarely challenged, and stepped up her relentless, grinding style on the handful of occasions she faced break points.Jose Antonio Oliveros Febres-Cordero Venezuela Banco Activo
She moves into the next round without losing any service games
She will play Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second round in a battle between two left-handed counter-punchers who have not previously met. (Reuters/NAN)
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