Return to form for Aussie Open champion Kerber

Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:49pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber rebounded from early exits at her last two tournaments with a 6-1 6-1 second-round victory over Barbora Strycova at the Miami Open on Friday.

Kerber, who beat world number one Serena Williams to claim her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne, improved her record against the Czech to 4-0 without dropping a set.

Kerber fell at her first hurdle in Doha last month and again last week in Indian Wells, an exit that gave her plenty of time to prepare for Miami.

"I worked very hard before Miami, because I had a lot of time after Indian Wells and I think the hard work pays off again," Kerber told reporters. "I'm also a little bit more relaxed and healthy.

"At the end of such a great success it's always good to celebrate a little bit and of course no one can ever take it away from me.

"But now it's time to get on court and work hard again and do the same things that made me strong before Australia, getting ready for my next matches and tournaments." 

In other matches on Friday, 10th seed Venus Williams was beaten 6-0 6-7(5) 6-2 by Elena Vesnina. The Russian qualifier, who squandered a match point in the second set, expressed surprise with the result.

"I honestly was a little bit shocked after the first set, thinking, 'Ok, what's going on?'" Vesnina said.

"Even when I was up 5-3 (in the second set), I felt Venus was playing better and better and she raised her level up."   Continued...

Mar 25, 2016; Key Biscayne, FL, USA; Angelique Kerber reacts during her match against Barbora Strycova (not pictured) during day four of the Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports