By McCarton Ackerman
Throughout the year, EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com will be taking a look at players who could contend or surprise during this year's Series. Up now: German Angelique Kerber, who is enjoying a sizzling start to the spring clay-court season.
The Angelique Kerber File
Residence: Puszczykowo, Poland
Current Rank: 11
Career-High Rank: 5 (October 2012)
Best 2014 Series Finish: RU (Stanford)
Consistency has been the theme of Angelique Kerber’s career. The German veteran is known for chasing down balls that are seemingly impossible to reach and magically hitting offensive winners from defensive positions. Kerber’s tenacity led to her spending 143 consecutive weeks inside the Top 10, from May 2012 until last February. During that period, she reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2012, advanced to the finals at nine WTA events and recorded eight Top 10 victories.
The beginning of 2015 proved difficult for Kerber, with several first-round exits giving her a losing record going into the clay-court campaign and sending her out of the Top 10. But after hiring a new coach last March in Torben Beltz, her season has taken off.
Kerber won the WTA Premiere event last month in Charleston, S.C., prevailing in a thrilling final against rising American Madison Keys. She followed up that result by winning another WTA Premiere event, in Stuttgart, Germany, defeating reigning French Open champion Maria Sharapova in the opening round and rallying from 3-5 in the final set of her championship match with reigning US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki.
The German’s first major breakthrough came at the 2011 US Open, where she reached the semifinals before narrowly losing to eventual champion Samantha Stosur. She has since produced solid results during the Series, including finalist performances in Cincinnati in 2012 and Stanford in 2014. But while her emotions can pull through her difficult matches, Kerber’s tendency to get negative on court has also contributed to some surprising losses.
With the help of Beltz, however, she has developed a more positive attitude on court in recent months that has helped fuel her inspired play. Kerber has recorded victories over every top player on tour throughout her career and has shown that she is capable of playing her best tennis on the biggest stages. If she can bring her top form to North America this summer, she has a decent chance of capturing her first Series title.