by Kevin Craig
Angelique Kerber continued her roll at the Australian Open as she breezed past Kristyna Pliskova in the third round on Friday, 6-0, 6-4.
“It’s great to have another good match under my belt and to be in the fourth round again here,” Kerber said. “I think that I’m finding my rhythm in the tournament now.”
The German made her breakthrough in Melbourne last year winning her first major title inside Rod Laver Arena, and will be looking to grab her third overall this year after she also claimed the US Open in 2016. Kerber is well on her way to the final in the weaker top half of the draw, and she could possibly meet up with Serena Williams for a rematch in the final.
Pliskova is the sister of Karolina Pliskova, who reached the US Open final last year, but is left-handed and has struggled to have the same level of success as her twin. Kristyna has been known more for her doubles results, but had made a good run in Melbourne this year.
Kerber easily dispatched the lower-ranked Pliskova, hitting just 14 unforced errors to her 34. After needed three sets to win both of her first two matches, the No. 1 player in the world gained some much needed confidence as she continues her Australian Open title defence.
In the first set, Kerber raced out to a 5-0 lead after just 17 minutes and finished off the bagel easily thanks to three unforced errors in the final game from Pliskova.
Kerber continued her great form into the second set, going up an early break. Pliskova, though, was able to get back into the set by winning three straight games midway through to take a lead. Kerber didn’t let that mini-slump in the second set stop her, though, as she broke at 4-4 to take a lead before serving out the match with ease.
“It was not so easy today, she is a tough opponent,” said Kerber. “I tried to stay focused until the last point.”
Next up for Kerber is American Coco Vandeweghe, who defeated Genie Bouchard in the third round in three tight sets.
“I think it will be a little bit similar to today. Coco is a tough opponent,” Kerber said. “I know that she’s serving good, as well. I have to move good, be ready, bring a lot of balls back, but also be aggressive.”
If Kerber can get past Vandeweghe, she could most likely take on Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, with Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova potentially awaiting her in the semifinals.