Dubai Tennis: Angelique Kerber speeds past Barbora Strycova to reach second round

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Angelique Kerber’s redemption tour continues as she raced to a straight-sets victory over Barbora Strycova to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday night.

Kerber needed just 59 minutes to speed past Strycova, who was a runner-up in Dubai two years ago, to set up a clash with former champion Sara Errani.

The sixth-seeded Kerber, who struggled with form last season, has come out of the blocks firing in 2018 to return to the top-10. She has compiled a 13-2 win-loss record so far this year, winning the title in Sydney and reaching the Australian Open semi-finals.

The German took advantage of some poor serving from Strycova, who landed just 47 per cent of her first serves in and double-faulted six times.

“I think I was trying to play my game. I think it was a little bit different to play night than during the day because I was practicing yesterday night, but it was still a little bit different on court with the lights and everything,” said the two-time Grand Slam champion.

“I think I played a good match. I played a solid match. It’s always tough to play against her. You never know what’s happen. She’s always a fighter. But I’m happy to won the match in two sets.”

Errani, who won the title in Dubai in 2016 against Strycova in the final, is down to No. 143 in the rankings and had to make it through three qualifying rounds before making the main draw this week. She is the lowest ranked player in the tournament and served a two-month doping suspension last year after testing positive for the banned substance letrozole.

“I’m not looking against who I’m playing. I try really focusing on my game. Of course, I know against who I’m playing. But at the end she had a great matches here. I think she played qualies, as well,” said Kerber, looking ahead to her next round.

“I will just try to play another good match, playing like I played the last weeks. This is more my focus, and not against who I’m playing.”

The last match of the day saw fifth-seeded Caroline Garcia overcome former French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-5 to set-up a second round against Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.

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