2017 Wimbledon player profile: Angelique Kerber

World number one Angelique Kerber is entering a crucial part of the second half of the season on the WTA tour, where she has plenty of points to defend, starting with Wimbledon, and the two-time Grand Slam champion will be hoping to rediscover the form, that she showed in 2016.

2017 Wimbledon player profile: Angelique Kerber
The German had a good 2016 campaign and she will be looking to go far at Wimbledon again (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)

Two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber will return to Wimbledon looking to build on her amazing run to the final last year. The German advanced to three Grand Slam finals in 2016, winning two of them, and she lost to Serena Williams in the final at SW19 last year, and she beat Williams in their first Slam final at the Australian Open. This second half of the season is an important one for Kerber as she has plenty of points to defend, and she could tumble down the rankings if it all goes wrong.

Notable results to date

The world number one began her season Down Under, where she had good memories from winning her first Slam title at the Australian Open last year. The German lost to Elina Svitolina in her first event in 2017 in the quarterfinals in Brisbane. She suffered a surprise second round exit in Sydney to young talented Russian, Daria Kasatkina. The two-time Grand Slam champion returned to the Australian Open as the defending champion and top seed at a Slam for the first time. Kerber's struggles were evident as she needed three sets to defeat Lesia Tsurenko and Carina Witthoeft but she thrashed Kristyna Pliskova in the third round in straight sets. However, she failed to defend her title as she was outhit by the USA's Coco Vandeweghe, who advanced to her second Slam quarterfinal, and went on to reach her first Slam semifinal at the Australian Open.

The former Australian Open champion was unable to successfully defend her title losing to Vandeweghe in the fourth round (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)
The former Australian Open champion was unable to successfully defend her title losing to Vandeweghe in the fourth round (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

The 29-year-old's fortunes at the two back-to-back Premier Mandatory events at Indian Wells and Miami Open improved. She defeated her compatriot Andrea Petkovic in the second round and followed it up with a third round victory over Pauline Parmentier. However, she lost to eventual champion Elena Vesnina in the fourth round. Kerber went one round better at the Miami Open as she reached the quarterfinals in Miami but she lost to fellow former world number one, and fellow multiple Grand Slam champion Venus Williams. The German advanced to her first final of the year in Monterrey but she lost to Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the second time in the Mexican city, after 2013.

Kerber's results slightly improved in North America at the Miami Open, where she made the quarterfinals (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)
Kerber's results slightly improved in North America at the Miami Open, where she made the quarterfinals (Photo by Julian Finney / Getty)

Kerber began her clay court campaign in Stuttgart at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as the two-time defending champion. However, she was unable to win three titles in a row in the German city after losing to eventual runner-up Kristina Mladenovic. Kerber's clay court results continued to be dismal as she lost in the third round of the Premier Mandatory event of the year at the Mutua Madrid Open to Eugenie Bouchard. The two-time Grand Slam champion was no match for the in-form Anett Kontaveit in her second round match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. Kerber blew an opportunity to build some ranking points at the French Open as she lost in the first round last year to eventual semifinalist Kiki Bertens. Moreover, for the second year in a row, the German was dealt with a dangerous first round draw against two-time Slam semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova. The Russian dispatched Kerber in straight sets, which ended a miserable clay court campaign for the world number one.

The two-time Grand Slam champion's woes on clay continued (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)
The two-time Grand Slam champion's woes on clay continued (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)

Grass results leading up to Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam champion was due to play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham but withdrew from the event due to a hamstring injury which she picked up in Madrid. Nevertheless, Kerber is short of grass court matches but she will get her preparations for Wimbledon underway at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, and she is only 115 points ahead of Simona Halep in the rankings with the WTA world number one ranking at stake.

Best Wimbledon result

The world number one's best result at SW19 was when she reached her second Grand Slam singles final of 2016 at Wimbledon. She entered the tournament as the fourth seed and was one of five players to have a shot at the world number one ranking from Williams.

Kerber was solid throughout the Championships as didn't drop a set en route to the final. The German was the world number four at the time, and she defeated Britain's Laura Robson with a loss of four games and Varvara Lepchenko in the second round with a loss of five games. Kerber advanced to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the third time by defeating compatriot Carina Witthoeft and Misaki Doi. The two-time Grand Slam champion remained solid throughout the tournament as she defeated Simona Halep in two close sets, 7-5, 7-6(2) in the quarterfinals, and in her second semifinal at SW19, Kerber defeated former five-time champion Venus Williams in straight sets. Despite a closely contested opening set, Kerber lost to Serena Williams in the final, 7-5, 6-3.

Kerber came up a little short at Wimbledon last year becoming the first German woman since Steffi Graf in 1999 to compete in a SW19 final (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)
Kerber came up a little short at Wimbledon last year becoming the first German woman since Steffi Graf in 1999 to compete in an SW19 final (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)

Kerber lost to Garbine Muguruza in the third round in straight sets but she reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2014, defeating Maria Sharapova in the fourth round but lost to eventual finalist Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals. The German's previous best finish at Wimbledon was a semifinal finish in 2012 losing to Agnieszka Radwanska.

How Kerber's game translates to grass

The grass is a good surface for players to attack and get a lot of cheap points like aces and service winners due to the low bounce. Moreover, players like Radwanska like to utilise their drop shots. Kerber is one of the best defenders in women's tennis, and she has improved physically and mentally over the past couple of years. Kerber will be pleased to be back on grass as she will be able to extend points in long rallies, and her forehand down the line will be a shot she will be looking to utilise.

However, the world number one could struggle against the big-hitters and players like Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are fine returners on grass, and they would attack Kerber's second serve which is easily attackable. The German will be looking to set the record straight at Wimbledon, and this period of the season will be a testing one for Kerber, who is a two-time Slam winner, Olympic silver medalist, and former runner-up.


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