It couldn’t have gotten better for Ann Li after her second-round win over Alison Riske. The American dropped only three games en route to what is currently her best result at a major, but she was hoping to extend that. Standing in her way though was a three-time Grand Slam champion in Angelique Kerber.
Li’s power was on full display in this showdown, however, Kerber has the game to neutralize it with her world-class counterpunching and movement. A valiant effort for the American, but it was Kerber who took it 6-3, 6-4 to book her place in the fourth round of the US Open.
Kerber Comes Through Opener
An immediate look for Kerber after three straight backhand unforced errors from the 20-year-old. She hit right back with three straight forehand winners, but after a spirited fightback in the opening game, a double-fault gave the former US Open champion an early lead.
The backhand was causing troubles for Li, but her forehand was firing on all cylinders, just keeping that scoreboard pressure on Kerber. A ninth forehand winner gave Li the break point chance she’s waited for. It quickly disappeared though as she hit the ensuing return long.
Kerber’s first set point saw her just miss a forehand down the line just wide, but at the second time of asking, she would close out the 6-3.
Kerber Closes It Out
Any ounce of a look on Kerber’s serve was something Li could not pounce on. She was just unable to string consecutive solid points together with the German serving. Kerber, on the other hand, did just that with four consecutive points on the American’s serve to break to love. On only her third break point of the match, Li produced a stunning backhand return winner to get the set back on serve.
After finally getting that break, the 20-year-old was finally putting points together as her patience rose, taking her time to get the right shot. A seven-minute game saw the 17 seed hold after saving three break points from Li. The American came through with a clutch hold of her own, saving a couple of break points to level it at 4-4.
Kerber seemed to be walking gingerly, but it still did not deter her. A beautiful cross-court backhand made it difficult for Li as the German closed it out in straights.