2016 in review: Kerber stuns Serena Down Under
Originally published on 20/12/16 00:00
In 2015, Angelique Kerber lost in the first round of the Australian Open to the unseeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu. Twelve months later she left Melbourne as the champion.
In one of the most tightly contested Australian Open women’s finals, the first-time Grand Slam finalist produced one of the best performances of her career to deny world No.1 Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4.
It was nearly a very different story for Kerber, who saved a matchpoint in her first round match against Misaki Doi, but after being granted another life, she showed few signs of nerves in the final to deny Williams a seventh Australian Open title, and a 22nd major, which would have equalled Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 Grand Slams.
“I knew before that I beat Serena once in Cincinnati, that I really must go out there to try to beat her again because she will not give it to me,” said Kerber. “It was a really great match from both of us. When I hit the match point, I was just hoping to return the ball over the net. Just hoping, that I can make the ball and just going for it if I have the chance. Yeah, when the ball was out from her, I was so happy. It's amazing."
Williams, who had never previously lost in Australian Open final, committed 46 unforced errors. “It was a really good, really intense match. I thought it was really exciting," she said. “I think I did the best I could today. You know, would I give myself an A? No. But today this is what I could produce today.”