Angelique Kerber of Germany hits a return to Venus Williams of the US in their women’s singles second round match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney on January 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Peter PARKS /
Former world number one Angelique Kerber says she is looking for more confidence-boosting matches ahead of next week’s Australian Open after knocking Venus Williams out of the Sydney International.
The German overcame a first-set fade-out to beat the American second seed 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 late Tuesday and continue her 2018 revival.
The two-time Grand Slam champion remains unbeaten in six matches this year following last week’s Hopman Cup mixed-teams campaign in Perth and now meets Dominika Cibulkova in Thursday’s quarter-final.
Kerber started 2017 ranked world number one but by the end of the season had slumped to 21, and she headed into the Sydney event ranked 22.
Now the left-hander is looking for a run of matches to further restore her confidence heading into the year’s opening Grand Slam tournament.
“Yes, not looking back anymore. I’m happy how the year starts. I have been doing a lot of work,” said the 29-year-old.
“I’m just looking forward to have a lot of matches before going to Melbourne, and now I have another one.
“Let’s see how many I will get. But this is actually just a goal to playing matches and then going with a lot of confidence to Melbourne.”
Kerber started the first set stronger and looked to have Williams’s measure with a 5-3 lead and two set points before the world number five rallied.
Williams, the seven-times Grand Slam champion — a finalist at the Australian Open last year — went on to take the opening set.
But Kerber fought back strong as Williams struggled with her service.
The German levelled the match and swept to a 5-0 lead in the decider but Williams rallied again before she succumbed to the inevitable on the fifth match point, when she sent a backhand return wide.