Tennis in Stuttgart: Kerber fails again – Sports

In tennis, there are photographs that present how a participant walks, how assured he’s and the way snug he’s on the court docket. With Angelique Kerber, this shot is her forehand, the hit is lengthy, clean and quick. Shooting is harmful, timing have to be proper. So, if Kerber pushes the baseline down the court docket throughout a rally, if she dares to take a shot and hit it, then she is harmful for each opponent.

Many of Kerber’s forehands whizzed over the online in the primary spherical of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on Wednesday night time, simply out of attain for her opponent, world quantity six Anette Kontaveit of Estonia. Kerber’s photographs have been too secure, too correct for her – however just for one sentence. In the second and third units, Kerber additionally hit some forehands price watching, however most of them went off the hook or into the online. In the tip, Kerber got here throughout as a participant who did not hit her finest when she wanted it most.

She misplaced 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, and the loss tells a small story a few larger problem that has plagued Kerber for weeks. He performs first rate, typically superb tennis. He pushes robust opponents to their limits, however he cannot win. “In the tip, a few factors determined it again. Unfortunately, not for me,” Kerber mentioned after the match. One of probably the most painful experiences for a tennis participant is seeing the end line in a match, however consistently stumbling in entrance of it.

Kerber, 34, has achieved it in three straight video games. Every week earlier than the match in Stuttgart, he performed in Kazakhstan on the Billie Jean King Cup, the successor to the Fed Cup. She misplaced to Yulia Putintseva 6:3, 3:6, 2:6. Against world quantity 19 Yelena Rybakina, she even served to win the third-spherical match 5-3 – the set ended 5-7. Of course, a slender loss is healthier than being swept 6-1, 6-1. But when you typically fail, you may wish to give it some thought the following time you are essential. “At the tip of the day, you must win these matches,” Kerber mentioned. You understand how it’s: “You want a match that provides me this sense of change, this confidence.”

In 2022, Kerber gained solely two matches

He wants to search out that feeling sooner somewhat than later as a result of his whole season wants a change. Stuttgart’s untimely defeat is the following stage in Kerber’s troublesome journey to someway discover her method into 2022. Sidelined by the corona virus, Germany’s high tennis participant misplaced in the primary spherical on the Australian Open, Doha and Miami. Although he’s nonetheless on the seventeenth place in the world rating, he can be on the 96th place if he counted the factors he has collected this yr.

Kerber gained simply two matches at Indian Wells in 2022, dropping to Iga Sviatek in the ultimate. He managed the feat of getting a sentence from the world primary. No participant has achieved that since. But in the tip it occurred again: a 3-set defeat.

Tennis is a continuing wrestle to search out the fitting steadiness between offense and security. Kerber has the flexibility to deliver the 2 poles into optimum steadiness. Then it protects easily, nearly completely. Then, when the time is true, he’ll assault. In this Zen mode, Kerber gained three Grand Slams. Kerber had already set that purpose earlier than this season, when she was with out a coach: she “wished to play massive tournaments for large titles.”

There have been durations towards Kontaveit the place Kerber confirmed her recreation may attain this degree. He defended, he attacked, he fought again when he fell behind in the third set. “He performed very well,” Kontaveit mentioned. What was lacking was consistency. Especially in essential conditions, Kerber made minor errors. He dropped his first service recreation in the third set with a double fault – which he finally misplaced.

Early bye: Match towards Anette Kontaveit (left) is the one match for Angelique Kerber in Stuttgart.

(Photo: Roger Burke/Eibner/Imago)

After the match, as she sat in entrance of reporters in black, Kerber seemed downcast. “Of course, it is a pity that I am unable to play right here now. It was an important match for me,” he mentioned. He gained in Stuttgart in 2015 and 2016, his model of play higher suited to the quicker indoor situations than the slower outside clay courts that will likely be performed in the approaching weeks.

Afterwards, Kerber mentioned she felt good on the court docket and was bodily prepared. Basically, the one factor lacking is the sensation of successful again in a aggressive match.


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