Angelique Kerber’s remarkable 2012 continued as she made the last 16 of the US Open on Saturday, dispatching Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6-1 6-2 in just 56 minutes.
While Govortsova did herself no favours by committing 29 unforced errors, Kerber deserves credit for playing steadily and consistently. She won 6 of her 7 break point opportunities, and made only 5 unforced errors in the entire contest.Such clean hitting was in contrast to Kerber’s previous match, a three-set marathon against Venus Williams which, although full of drama and momentum shifts, was not always an exhibition of high-quality tennis. Nevertheless, the German is showing that she has the mental fortitude to win difficult matches even when she isn’t playing particularly well. Many thought that her run to the semi-finals of last year’s tournament signalled a career high, but in fact it heralded a rejuvenation for Kerber, who has now won more matches on the WTA tour than any other player this year. Govortsova, 24 years old, has yet to make the fourth round of a grand slam. Her year has been somewhat inconsistent: she has played well in ITF-level tournaments, but struggled to put together wins on the main tour. Playing against an experienced top 10 opponent was a cold reminder of the gap that exists between her current level and that of the game’s elite.Next up for Kerber is a clash with world number 10 Sara Errani, who is also having an excellent year. Although she lost to the Italian at the French Open, Kerber will be confident of securing a place in the quarter-finals. The faster hard courts of Flushing Meadows will allow her to attack Errani’s defensive game more effectively.