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Kerber braced for another step into the unknown

Tennis - Singapore WTA Finals Singles Semifinals - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore - 29/10/2016 - Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Tennis - Singapore WTA Finals Singles Semifinals - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore - 29/10/2016 - Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland. REUTERS/Edgar Su

By John O'Brien

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Angelique Kerber has won two grand slams and risen to number one in the rankings this season but the German admits her WTA Finals title showdown against Dominika Cibulkova on Sunday still feels like a step into the unknown.

"I know it's a big final again but I never played such a final. I'm really looking forward to it," the Australian and U.S. Open champion said after thrashing defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals on Saturday.

"I mean, it's a big thing for me and really special because it's the last tournament after such an incredible year," the 27-year-old added.

"So I will try to enjoy it but of course I will be nervous in the beginning, like always. I think with all the experience I learned in the big finals this year, that gives me a lot of more confidence when I walk on court tomorrow night."

Cibulkova and Kerber met in their opening round-robin match in Singapore with the German beating the Slovakian 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3 but the world number one believes she has grown into the tournament since that previous encounter.

"I'm playing a lot more aggressively now than in the first match. The first matches are always tough, especially when you're playing in a group," the Olympic silver medallist added.

"I am moving a little bit better right now. It's like the last match, not the first one. I think I improved in this as well. I have got used to the court, the crowd and everything.

"So yeah, I think my tennis improved in the last few days since the first match."

Kerber, however, will not be over-confident, as she knows Cibulkova has less to lose in the final against a player ranked number one in the world.

"It's a little bit weird playing one opponent twice in one tournament, this has never happened to me before," Kerber said.

"I'm looking forward to playing against her. The first match was really tight and close, so she has a lot of confidence from the last two matches she won.

"Yeah, she has nothing to lose, so I think it will be a good final from both of us."

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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