Angelique Kerber’s ascent up the WTA rankings, though steady and newsworthy, paled in comparison to her dramatic fall out of the top ten. Kerber became all too familiar with early round losses over the course of the last two seasons. Kerber achieved a career high ranking of five in the world in October 2012 following her breakout performance at the 2011 U.S. Open where she reached the semi-finals.
The twenty-seven year old lefty from Germany, appears to be on an upward trajectory this season winning her first title on clay at the Family Circle Cup defeating American Madison Keys in three tight sets. This prestigious title was the fourth of her career and first since the fall of 2013.
Kerber’s recent return to form following the reemergence of a chronic back injury, could not come at a better time. The European clay court season is in full swing with the WTA tour setting up shop in her home country. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, Kerber, unseeded, stunned the number one seed and three-time defending champion, Maria Sharapova in three compelling sets in the second round. She has now defeated the world number two three times out of seven and on three different surfaces. Having defeated the reigning French Open champion on clay just a month shy of Roland Garros can only serve to boost Kerber’s confidence.
She would follow up this significant win with a straight sets victory over the number sixth seed and eighth ranked player, Ekatarina Makarova. Astoundingly, Kerber won more second serve than first serve points (70/69% respectively) and converted 5 of her 8 break point opportunities. Up next for the resurgent German is the 43rd ranked American, Madison Brengle who is 23-9 thus far this season. This will be their first meeting on the WTA Tour.
Kerber has the credentials to do damage at the Grand Slams having made the semis at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, the quarters at the French and the 4th round twice down under. Currently the hottest player on the dirt, Kerber is primed to capitalize on her recent success and progress deep in the draw at the French Open next month provided she remains healthy and mentally focused.
Based on her current form, Kerber may very well match her career high ranking of five in the world by the time she arrives in the city of light. All roads lead to Roland Garros; next stop – Madrid!