Angelique Kerber will be finally looking to kickstart her year with a deep run in Miami. Back at the No.1 spot, she faces Shelby Rogers in the third round and will want to ensure she remains at the top of her own accord rather than due to the inactivity of Serena Williams, who is once again missing from the tournament.
Conditions weren’t great for Kerber in her opening round win, having to deal with swirling winds in the 7-6 6-2 victory over China’s Duan Ying-Ying. “It was not easy with all the wind and everything, but I’m through and into the next round and that’s what matters to me.” she said. While it remains disappointing, her early exit at Indian Wells to Elena Vesnina doesn’t look as bad now after the Russian went on to claim the title in a great final with Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kerber will be delighted by Rogers’ win in the previous round. After coming through a final set tiebreak in round one, the American defeated Darya Kasatkina in three sets. She was a game away from winning in two at 6-4 5-4 up but had to settle for a three set win, easily taking it in the end 6-4 5-7 6-0. Kasatkina had already defeated Kerber twice this year with wins in Sydney and Doha.
Kerber has looked vulnerable this year and in general since picking up the No.1 ranking. Just 10-6 on the year, she has a number of bad losses this year and has gone 0-3 against players ranked in the top 20. Rogers may not have the game style to defeat Kerber on this occasion but will be buoyed by her one top 5 match this year, thrashing Simona Halep in straight sets at the Australian Open.
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in straight sets