After winning a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, Angelique Kerber kept up her impressive first half of the season with a semifinal run in Charleston, winning both matches for Germany in Fed Cup, and claiming a second consecutive Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title at her home tournament of Stuttgart. For Kerber's impressive start to the clay court season, the German has been named VAVEL USA's Player of the Month for April, following her win in January as well.
Kerber fails to defend title, reaches semifinals in Charleston
After re-invigorating her 2015 season with a win last year in Charleston, Kerber returned to the Volvo Car Open looking to defend a title for the first time in her career. The German had a bye in the opening round, before scraping past Spanish clay court specialist Lara Arruabarrena 6-2, 5-7, 7-6. In the following round, the top seed cruised past qualifier Kristina Kucova 6-2, 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, the German blew past Irina-Camelia Begu by the same scoreline. The Australian Open champion was stopped in the semifinals by an in-form Sloane Stephens, with Kerber eventually succumbing to illness in the second set down 6-1, 3-0.
Kerber wins both rubbers for Germany in Fed Cup to reach World Group
Germany began their quest for a spot in next year's World Group with a tie in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, against Romania. Kerber began the tie with a first rubber meeting against the player she beat to reach the semis in Charleston, Irina-Camelia Begu. With an exact scoreline from their meeting in South Carolina, the world number three brushed aside Begu to give Germany a 1-0 lead. Simona Halep of Romania leveld the tie up at 1-1, before Kerber dominated the former French Open finalist to keep Germany in the lead. Two other Germans sealed the tie for the visitors, sending last year's semifinalists to the World Group for 2017.
Kerber defends title in Stuttgart to cap off impressive month
Kerber began her title defense in Stuttgart with a tough opening match against fellow German Annika Beck. After losing the first set, the Aussie Open champion came roaring back, dominating the next two sets to move into the quarterfinals. There in the last eight, the German seventh seed Carla Suarez Navarro. Kerber kept up her winning streak in Stuttgart, getting past the Spaniard 6-4, 6-2, before bludgeoning her way past two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in a narrow three-setter 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. In the final, Kerber went up against another fellow German and Stuttgart resident Laura Siegemund. Siegemund, a qualifier who had enjoyed a fairy tale run to the final, was no match for the heavy lefty strokes of Kerber, with the German number one easily winning 6-4, 6-0 to claim a second consecutive Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title.