Angelique Kerber wins first WTA title in Paris against Bartoli

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The 27th-ranked Angelique Kerber scored her first Top 10, more precisely a Top 5, victory against top seed Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals of the Open GDF Suez, and after beating Yanina Wickmayer in the semis 6-7(2) 6-3 6-4, Kerber completed the career milestone week by overcoming second seed and home force Marion Bartoli in the final to win her first title on the WTA Tour. It’s not that the early rounds were easy for the ninth-seeded Kerber. First she faced an always-tricky Lucie Safarova and in the second round Monica Niculescu pushed her to 6-3 4-6 6-3.

Bartoli is world No.7, so the victory in the title match is Kerber’s second against a Top 10 player. But it wasn’t a simple task, as the two fought for two hours and 39 minutes until Kerber won 7-6(3) 5-7 6-3. The first set contained four service breaks, two on each side, and Bartoli was 100% successful on break point conversions, but Kerber came out strong and took the set in a tiebreak. The German was on a roll until 5-2 in the second set, when Bartoli took charge and won five straight games to take the match to the third set. Kerber then again established a lead and this time she kept it alive until the final point to her advantage. (photo: Upali Wickramasinghe)


  1. A fantastic win for Kerber and another great match from an exciting week in Paris. There seems to be a long list of lower ranked players really stepping up their game and playing some great tennis so far in 2012 – Kerber, Barthel, Hantuchova, Wickmayer, Zheng, Cirstea, Kirilenko and Benesova just to name a few! Kudos to Bartoli who fought her heart out this week but she was beaten by a deserved champion.

  2. Right on, James, – and I’d like to add that there is a bunch of lower-ranked players on the tour (both WTA and ATP!) who play wonderful tennis – often much more inspired by the true spirit of the game than their more successful and often undeservedly hyped-up colleagues. For instance: this day, at Doha, saw the comeback of Maria José Martinez Sánchez, after a longish lay-off due to injury, who, rusty as she must be, gave Kuznyetsova quite a run for her money; a true original – there is no one on the WTA tour like her. Also today, also at Doha, young Caroline Garcia of France – who, but for her inexperience, almost has beaten Sharapova at RG last year – pushed Mona Barthel (another, and older, great talent) to the limits, losing in two tight tie-breaks; I hope she stays healthy, PEDs free, keeps on developing that great talent she has, and, indeed, becomes World No.1 (as Murray has twitted after said match against Sh). I’ll stop at these freshest of unnoticed examples of greatness, lest my comment run into zillion “characters”. I’ll only add: there’s much more to tennis than what the media (and, let’s be honest, ITF, WTA and ATP) look for and, therefore, “see”.


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