Angelique Kerber clinched the first win for Germany at the Hopman Cup on Sunday afternoon against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza to win as she held her own in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win on the RAC Arena.
The two met for the first time since Wimbledon 2017, where Muguruza got the win over the German in the Round of 16 for her fifth consecutive win over the current Wimbledon champion.
The 25-year-old served to begin the match and it was Kerber who created three break opportunities in the opening game, but Muguruza held on. Kerber found herself in the same situation on serve in the second game with the Spaniard fighting for control. The two fought through nine minutes with the world number two capturing her first service hold.
Kerber broke the Spaniard creating a lead after game three assembling two points to begin a rush to victory. The 30-year-old added three more wins to her bottom line landing angled winners that made it a tough time for Muguruza. It wasn’t until the seventh game that the world number 18 managed to get another victory for herself. The damage had been done making it tough to overcome as Kerber served up three set points in the eighth before getting it on a long forehand landing wide. Germany had its first lead after 40 minutes with Kerber in fine form.
The second set was Muguruza’s chance to make up for the early mistakes and started things with a great serve to love in the first. Kerber stayed on pace to hold in the second, staying in tow with the Spaniard through five games. There was a moment in the sixth when Kerber put the pressure on Muguruza to falter but a key save helped her hold on. She got herself into position in the eighth with a break on the German to lead 5-3. The 25-year-old coasted to level the playing field with Kerber blanked in the ninth ending the set in 39 minutes.
With the final set yet to play, both players went for it all as one of them would set the bar for their country to carry momentum along in the competition. Things were looking good for Kerber after a hold in the second where she put things into a tactical gear to get the best of Muguruza. It turned into a key moment of the set where the German began to bring the drop shot that caught the 25-year-old off guard. Despite her attempts to react in kind, the returns from the Spaniard fell wide to give her opponent another small margin.
Muguruza had a shot to turn the tables around with a break chance against Kerber. Unfortunately, the returns didn’t come easy as Kerber fired the ball on the rallies pushing the Spaniard to the baseline where her responses showed signs of a struggle. She forced deuce with Kerber but couldn’t get the right shot in to get another break opportunity. Kerber was in a great position playing up four games to one with Muguruza in danger of putting Spain in a hole. She recovered on serve holding off Kerber but the margin weighed heavily in favor of Germany.
The 30-year-old set herself up for a victory holding in the seventh with just one more win that came on the serve of Muguruza who was feeling the pressure in the late stages of the set. She pulled together a great service game with many coming at the net to clinch another win to her belt. It was up to Kerber to get it done on serve in game nine and did so even with Muguruza gaining a two point margin in the process. It came down to a final return from the Spaniard which landed just long of the corner baseline to complete the win in two hours and three minutes.
I went out there and tried to play my good tennis and be aggressive,” Kerber said after the match. “It’s a great feeling to start a new season here.”