Judging by the success of their WTA players, German tennis is in a relatively happy place right now and with three players into the fourth round of the Australian Open they will be feeling pretty confident about the upcoming Fed Cup ties. In Angelique Kerber, the seventh seed, they may have a genuine dark horse for the title and in less than an hour she dismantled Madison Brengle of the USA and faces countrywoman Annika Beck in the fourth round.
Kerber too strong for the American
Having endured an incredibly tough encounter in first round to Misak Doi of Japan, where her much unfancied opponent had had match points in the second round, the ease with which she overcame Brengle will have provided a much welcome tonic. In the content's entirety, Kerber rarely looked troubled as she 27 winners past her hapless opponent.
The score, 6-1 6-3 to Kerber, was in fact a near mirror-image to their most recent meeting in Brisbane, where the German trounced Brengle 6-3 6-0; in four meetings now, Brengle has only ever managed to secure a sole set.
Her progress through to the fourth round merely emphasises Kerber's good start to the year, having already reached the final in Brisbane, only to lose to the heavily-fancied Victoria Azarenka.
'It’s great to be here on court again. It’s such a great crowd, I get such great support from you,' Kerber said after the match, and having lost in the first round last year, she will be delighted to have made it thus far.
Faces Beck in the next round in a strong German showing
Not since 2013, where Kerber was joined by Julia Görges, have two german women made the rourth round of the Australian Open, and one has to go even further back to find the last time two Germans met in the latter stages of the Australian Open. On that occasion in 1989, the irreplacable Steffi Graf defeated Claudia Kohde-Kilsch in straight sets.
In 2016, the players involved carry less pedigree, with Kerber having reached the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time since 2014 with her win, but it should be just as hotly contested; their first ever meeting in professional tennis. Beck, the 21 year-old, plays in the second week of a grand slam for the first time in her career, having defated another German, Laura Siegemund, also in straights, to secure her place.
Incredibly, the Germans have yet another player in the fourth round, Anna-Lena Freidsam, who shocked Roberta Vinci in a three set thriller to set-up an interesting contest with Agnieszka Radwanska.