Kerber wins first WTA title of season, beats Ivanovic in Linz final

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Top seeded Angelique Kerber (Bio), who asked for a wild card entry into the Generali Ladies’ Linz tournament in order to try to earn enough points to qualify as the eighth player to make the year end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, was put through the wringer in the final against Ana Ivanovic (Bio) on Sunday afternoon. In fact, she owes a great deal to the qualifier who gave up her spot in the main draw in order for the German to try to qualify – and qualify she did, with her semi final win at this tournament.

After a relatively slow start to the 2013 season, Kerber really upped her game in the second half of the season and this showed in the final when she ran up a 4-1 lead in the first set. Ivanovic started playing really well at this point and broke back to level at 4-4 with some spectacular tennis from both players. The ninth game with Ivanovic serving was very long, with double faults and unforced errors galore on both sides of the net before Kerber eventually broke to lead 5-4 and she duly served out the set at 6-4. Ivanovic started the second set and led 2-0 before Kerber back to level at 3-3 and then go ahead 5-3. Again the ninth game was long, with Ivanovic getting to 40-0 before Kerber got back to deuce – and again both players made many unforced errors. Ivanovic held this time to trail 4-5 but a similar game ensued in the tenth game when Kerber was serving for the match at 40-0, when the Serb played some superb shots to break back on her third break point to level at 5-5. Both players then held serve to force a breaker, which was just as tight as the rest of the match. Ivanovic led 2-0 then Kerber led 4-2 before Ivanovic went 6-4 ahead, but Kerber dug in hard and took the next four points to scrape the win in a great final of finesse and timing from the Serb and sheer power from the German.

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