Defending champion Angelique Kerber cruised into the Sydney International third round Tuesday as she targets back-to-back titles, while world No 5 Sloane Stephens narrowly avoided a shock loss.
The second seeded German was made to work hard in the opening set against Italy’s Camila Giorgi, but took control in the second to ease through 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
“It’s always tough to play Camila, the way she is hitting the ball. Her second serve is like her first serve,” said world No 2 Kerber, who had a first round bye and is now into the third round.
“It’s never easy to play your first tournament match but I am happy to be through. Hopefully I can go back-to-back, but there’s still a long way to go.”
America’s Stephens battled back from the brink of a defeat to beat 72nd-ranked qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in their first round clash. Read more