Second seeded Angelique Kerber will look to make it to round four of the 2019 Australian Open but she will need to first defeat Kimberly Birrell in her next match on Friday.
Watch & bet on Angelique Kerber v Kimberly Birrell live with bet365 here* on Friday, January 18. The Kerber v Birrell match timings will be announced soon.
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Kerber v Birrell Head to Head
This is the first time that Kerber will be playing her Australian opponent, Birrell, who is ranked 240th in the world.
Solid Start for Kerber
With three Grand Slam titles to her name, including one at the 2016 Australian Open – also her first ever – this place has special memories for Angelique Kerber. And the way she has begun in the tournament, it looks like she could well go the distance yet again this time.
Following a third round exit at the US Open last year, Kerber’s form waned away coming into this first major of the year. She played in four tournaments including the WTA Finals and struggled through most of them, winning not more than two matches in either.
In fact it wasn’t until the Hopman Cup earlier this year that Kerber finally exhibited the form of 2018 as she defeated Garbine Muguruza, Ash Barty and Alize Cornet to carry Germany to the final. She then defeated Belinda Bencic in the final as well but that was followed by a loss in the quarter-finals of the Sydney International at the hands of Petra Kvitova.
Birrell’s Big Turning of the Corner?
Interestingly, Birrell has German roots having been born there but later shifted to Australia and started playing tennis professionally in 2012. Her WTA tour debut came in 2016, when she featured in the qualifying rounds of the Brisbane International while getting a wild-card to the main draw of the Hobart International that year. And she went on to win her opener as well.
Since that year, the only two times Birrell featured in Grand Slam tennis before this tournament was at the Australian Open – losing in round one in 2016 and failing to make it past the qualifiers in 2018.
Going into this year’s Australian Open, she had to defeat four fellow Aussie players in a tournament to win the wild-card and she did that without dropping a set to make it to the main draw. What would have made that decision to award her that wild-card super-cool is the way she has gone about her business since.
In her first round match, she defeated Paula Badosa Gibert in straight sets but her biggest triumph of her career came in round two when she shocked the world number 29 Donna Vekic in the second round of the Australian Open. Birrell won 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to set up this meeting against Kerber.
Angelique Kerber v Kimberly Birrell – Who Will Win?
Kerber should prove to be too good for Birrell and make it her third successive straight-set win in the tournament to make it to the fourth round of the tournament.
You can watch & bet on Angelique Kerber v Kimberly Birrell live with bet365 here on Friday, January 18.