Australian Open 2016: Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber Championship Prediction

Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber

Styles Make Matches

Angelique Kerber is an excellent player whose game is built around a powerful lefty forehand, excellent movement, and a fighting spirit.  Kerber’s biggest weakness is her serve.  Serena Williams also possesses a fighting spirit and powerful ground strokes, but her serve is a major strength.  This leaves me wondering where Kerber can find a competitive advantage during the match to exploit.  Both are great fighters and great athletes, but Serena’s game is more complete.  Serena also has a lot of experience in major finals.  So is this an open and shut match?

Lefty Power?

Kerber being a lefty and her willingness to compete mean she has a chance.  Some players lack enough fight to make a great champion beat them.  I think Kerber will dig in and give whatever she has to her cause.  Also, being a lefty means her shots will come at Serena from angles not frequently faced.  Roberta Vinci was able to upset Serena at last year’s US Open in part by slicing a lot of backhands and winning some points at the net.  The patterns Vinci gave Serena were not typical.  I don’t expect Kerber to slice many backhands or make a lot of trips to the net, but her lefty shots may be outside of the normal patterns of tennis just enough to get some traction.

Serve?

Kerber’s serve is likely to be a sitting duck for Serena often enough to make victory an uphill prospect.  However, if Kerber can find a way to slide her lefty serve into Serena a la Jimmy Connors’ serve which was rarely a weapon but also hard for opponents to jump on, Kerber can shore up some of this competitive disadvantage.

My Prediction

Angelique Kerber had an excellent 2015 campaign in regular tour events.  I felt as though she would improve her major results in 2016 a la Magnus Norman’s strong 1999 tour results leading into his 2000 Australian Open semifinal and Roland Garros runner-up finishes.  I simply think Serena does what Angelique does as well or better than Angelique.  On top of that, Serena’s serve and experience advantages are real.

Serena Williams d. Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3

 

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2 Comments

  1. To me, Serena made a very mature, healthy, careful, wise decision to take the rest of the year off from the 2015 US Open last year to help her body get better for the Australian Open this year. She has been looking solid from start to finish, being the only player to have not dropped a set in the tournament. Her match stats are extremely clean with 46 aces, 10 double faults, 164 winners, and 98 unforced errors. Serena has also averaged 72.6% of first serves in and has served no more than three double faults throughout her matches. But despite getting 74.4% of first serves in, Kerber’s match stats are 15 aces, 14 double faults, 147 winners, and 115 unforced errors. Also, the number of double faults that Kerber has served throughout the tournament seems to have fluctuated. She has been serving more double faults than aces in her matches, unlike Serena. Kerber has 17 more unforced errors and 4 more double faults in her match stats. This match seems to be more in favor of Serena, as she had a day off in between to rest for all of her matches. But, Kerber had to play her quarterfinal and semi-final matches back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday. Serena already said that that Kerber has beaten her before. So, she is very aware of Kerber’s game and will come out on top with her solid A game. Kerber will try to put up a good fight. But based on the match stats and Serena leading Kerber 5-1 in their head-to-head matches, I am predicting Serena to win this match in two sets with the scoreline being either 6-3 6-0, 6-3 6-4, 6-3 7-5, 6-1 6-1, or 6-1 6-2 and this will most likely be the first time that Serena wins the 2016 Australian Open without dropping a set.

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