ASH Barty will need to become the first player to defeat Angelique Kerber in 2018 if she is to win the Sydney International.
The 29-year-old Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. Open titles in 2016, was resolute in defence against her aggressive opponent and advanced to a first individual final since Monterrey in April last year. That's a really big part of tennis.' Kerber also spoke about the no. 1 ranking and how it changed her life: 'It was always my goal.
"I felt like it was a pretty good level, to be honest".
Sharapova was given a wildcard in Stuttgart in March previous year, even though her suspension didn't allow her to play her first-round match until the third day of the tournament - a decision Kerber labelled at the time as "a little bit strange".
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Barty, 21, reeled off straight sets wins against Veronica Cepede Royg, Ellen Perez and Barbora Strycova this week before rallying against her coffee buddy Gavrilova.
"Every match will be tough, but first of all, I will just be enjoying today, the title, and then from tomorrow I will be thinking about Melbourne". "We can go out and have a really good match, go hard at each other, and still shake hands, have a hug at the end of the match, and wish each other the best", Barty said. I'm very proud how I was able to play every single day.
Barty was gracious in defeat during the presentation ceremony, saying: "It's wonderful to see Angie back playing at her best". "I came here to just play match by match, and I was not looking too far ahead". Angie is on fire.
Barty also looks to have set herself for a deep run at the Australian Open, after making the third round of the tournament past year.
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When asked her opinion on Sharapova returning to the Australian Open earlier this week, Kerber was only willing to offer: "She's back and she played not bad in the last few weeks".
Her Sydney campaign is strong preparation for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, where she opens against world number 69 Aryna Sabalenka.
"There is nothing better than playing at home, playing in front of a home crowd".
"Regardless whether you're number one, number 10, or number 100 in the world, it's the best feeling for an Australian to be playing at the Australian Open". "It's nice to be able to get a lot of matches here and be rewarded with the final". I feel like if I play like that, I'll probably beat most of the people in the draw.
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