Tennis: Kerber and the problem of the odd years

Dhe tennis life of Angelique Kerber has so far fluctuated in a wondrous two-year rhythm. With astonishing regularity it was said: even years top, odd one flop. In 2012 she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time, in 2016 she won the Australian and US Open, and in 2018 Wimbledon. In between there were disappointing seasons, around 2015, 2017 or 2019. After Corona-shaped 2020, Angelique Kerber seemed to be back on well-known paths in 2021 due to first-round bankruptcies at the Australian and French Open. Then she won her new home tournament in Bad Homburg – and suddenly broke out.

Because since the triumph in June Angelique Kerber has once again belonged to the absolute top of the world. At Wimbledon she made it to the semifinals, at the Masters in Cincinnati the final and at the US Open she was only stopped by the furious teenage sensation Leylah Fernandez. Now she is at the prestigious Masters in Indian Wells after a 6: 4, 6: 1 against the Australian Alja Tomljanovic in the quarter-finals. And because several other favorites have already been eliminated, she is the first contender for many.

“I don’t think I was the top favorite at the beginning of the tournament, and I don’t think about the fact that I’m the top favorite of the tournament here,” said Angelique Kerber before her next match this Thursday (local time, 3:00 a.m. CEST in the night on Friday) against the Spaniard Paula Badosa the expectations. But the trend is unmistakable.

In the event of a tournament victory, the German would even return to the top 10 in the world rankings after more than two years, and qualification for the season finale of the eight best of the year is still possible. “For me it is important to play good tennis again and have fun on the court,” she says herself – even once in a season with an odd year.

Alexander Zverev meanwhile moved into the quarter-finals in Indian Wells. The German number one won on Wednesday (local time) 6: 1, 6: 3 against the French veteran Gael Monfils. The next opponent of the Olympic champion is the American Taylor Fritz. After winning the first round, Zverev had to break more resistance from 35-year-old Monfils in the second set. With the break to 5: 3, the 24-year-old fourth in the world rankings gained the decisive advantage and ended the game after only 61 minutes.

After the US Open winner Daniil Medvedev went out, Zverev is one of the favorites for the title at the $ 8.3 million event in California’s desert. The top seed Medvedev lost 6: 4, 4: 6, 3: 6 against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Also there is French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas. The number two Greek defeated the Australian Alex de Minaur 6: 7 (3: 7), 7: 6 (7: 3), 6: 2. Tsitsipas and Zverev could meet in the semifinals.

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