Kerber recovers from huge deficit
It was a very tight start to the match as both players exchanged service holds to begin the match with, nothing able to separate both players in the opening stages. The first breakthrough came in the fifth game of the match as Duan failed to find her first serves and Kerber took the advantage to be on the offense and break serve for the first time in the match, taking the early lead.
Nevertheless, with some precise hitting and strong returns, Duan made an immediate reply as she broke straight back to return level on serve as soon as possible. From then on, it was all about the Chinese as she first held her service to 15 comfortably, taking a 4-3 lead, before she broke serve to 15 too, exposing the vulnerability of the world number one’s serves as she powered her way to her second consecutive service break and opened up a formidable 5-3 lead and earned the golden opportunity to serve out the first set.
However, Duan seemed to be affected by the nerves and the pressure on her shoulders as she quickly went down 0-40 while serving for the match due to an abundance of unforced errors coming off her racquet. Despite being able to get back to deuce, Kerber eventually prevented Duan from earning a set point as she broke straight back to return on serve and give herself a chance of winning the first set once again.
A nervy service hold to 30 then saw the German make the scoreline 5-5, before earning three break points in her favor as the momentum seemed to shift towards her. Nevertheless, Duan played freely with nothing to lose as she rattled off five straight points to narrowly hold onto her service game to prevent herself from falling behind on the scoreboard and instead take a 6-5 lead.
After Kerber held her serve comfortably, the set was extended to a tiebreak to decide its proceedings. The world number one jumped out to a 4-1 lead all of a sudden and the first set looked to be over for Duan as her unforced errors cost her greatly at the crucial moments. The momentum eventually allowed Kerber to seal up the first set 7-6 after 47 minutes, which can be considered relatively fast for a tiebreak set.
Kerber strolls to victory
Kerber carried the momentum over to the second set as she started the set with an easy hold of serve, looking to close out the match in straight sets. Duan was on the verge of crumbling early in the set as she faced a break point in her opening service game but managed to come back from the brink as Kerber hit a backhand which was barely out. This tough hold of service seemed to give Duan the confidence needed as she earned two break points in the following game, threatening to take the lead in the set. However, she hit two easy returns way out of the court to gift Kerber the service hold, failing to take her chances well.
The first breakthrough of the second set came in the sixth game as Kerber prevailed in a marathon 14-points game to break serve for the first time in the set and take the lead, which she eventually consolidated as she fended off the tough resistance of the Chinese to open up a formidable 5-2 lead and place herself just one game away from the encouraging victory. The match ended with a bittersweet moment as Duan threw in a double fault on match point, which gave Kerber the victory after just 84 minutes of play.