McDonald: A Mature Kerber Has A Legit Shot At US Open Championship

Very quietly, if you listen at Arthur Ashe Stadium, you can almost hear the Rolling Stones playing, as Angelique Kerber finished off Roberta Vinci.

“Angie, Aaannngieee. Will you lead us to tears?”

For Kerber, this Open is a coming out party. A maturity of a player, who five years ago made the same Semifinals, but instead of happy to be doing well, this Kerber wants to go for the kill.

“It’s completely different,” Kerber said after she made mincemeat out of Vinci in the Quarterfinals, 7-5 6-0. “I mean, I remember the semis here like years ago when I reached it for my first time. That was maybe also a little bit surprise. I had nothing to lose. I came here. I just played great tennis. I think a lot of things, yeah, happened since then.

“Now I’m a completely different player, I think. I’m going out. I have a lot of confidence. I know how to win big matches. I know how it feels playing on the stadium. I’m also enjoying it more than years ago. I’m trying to, you know, going there and enjoying the atmosphere and also win the matches.”

Kerber comes in with a Grand Slam under her belt after winning Australia back in January. She took out Serena Williams, which means she knows the World No. 1 is very beatable and not the indestructible force she may have viewed Williams in the past.

Also she had tremendous success the rest of the season, including The Finals in Wimbledon and a silver medal in Rio. You could forgive her going out in the first round at Roland Garros, because everyone has an off day.

“It’s bigger, for sure,” Kerber said. “It’s one of my best years now, so that’s why my belief in myself is growing for sure. That’s why I think I’m playing like I’m playing right now, that I really going for it with a lot of belief in my game and myself.

“Yeah, it’s changed a lot in the last few months.”

Part of this transformation is maturity, of course. A 28 year-old Kerber obviously won’t get as rattles as the 23 year-old. But it’s also changes she made to the way she practiced, which improved her game on the court.

“I’m trying to focusing just on one or two things during the practice and really trying to focusing on this and improving few things and not making things also too complicated,” she said. “To going out there and practicing like not maybe two hours, but just one hour, and full intensity. I think this is what I change.

“Yeah, my game, I think my serve improved a little bit more than like few months ago. Of course that helps me a little bit more on my game style when my first serve, yeah, comes more.”

And frankly, she is more comfortable in her skin. She said that she feels much more comfortable in the everyday rigors of the tennis schedule, including these large events with us pesky media types.

Which is to say, she may be ready to win the biggest tournament in the world.

However, Kerber doesn’t like to look ahead, nor shall we. The Semifinals are Thursday and a date with the winner of tonight’s match between Caroline Wozniacki and Anastasija Sevastova, one she knows well and the other, she doesn’t.

“With Caroline, I mean, I know she’s moving very well and she brings a lot of balls back, so I have to be really patient, like today, and waiting for the shots and being aggressive. That will be for sure the challenge with her,” Kerber said.

“And against Sevastova, I think I never played against her yet, so… But this is also — I mean, she has nothing to lose. She plays now also one of her best tennis.  She reached the quarters here, so she will give everything. Yeah, actually, I don’t know exactly how she’s playing right now.”

We do know how Kerber is playing and as the Rolling Stones sang, “Angie, your beautiful.”

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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