She’s firing as the world’s top tennis stars struggle but Angelique Kerber isn’t getting carried away about her Australian Open chances.
The 27-year-old German stormed into the Brisbane International final on Friday with a 6-2 6-3 semi-final win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
Given the early withdrawals of top five-ranked players Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza in Brisbane as well as world No.1 Serena Williams’ struggles in Perth with a knee injury a sense of opportunity exists in women’s tennis before the Australian Open.
World No.10 Kerber could be a dark horse to make an impact at Melbourne Park given her form in Brisbane.
The German, who won four titles on tour last year, has never got past the fourth round in eight trips to Melbourne.
That record makes caution understandable when talk turns to the possibility of making the most of more esteemed rivals’ struggles.
“I’m actually focusing only on myself,” Kerber said.
“I’m looking to have a lot of matches before going to the first grand slam. That’s my goal.
“I can say just that I’m feeling good and that’s for me the important thing.”
Kerber’s win over Suarez Navarro means the German has advanced to the Brisbane final without dropping a set in her past three matches.
Her final opponent will be decided later on Friday when two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka takes on American qualifier Sam Crawford.
Kerber has lost all five of her past meetings with Azarenka, a record she’s only too aware of.
“We had so many tough battles, but I never won against her,” she said.
“When I play against her I will try to beat her maybe for the first time here.
“But she’s always tough. She is a champion. She played so well in the last few years.”