Former champ Kerber battles past compatriot Friedsam to advance

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2016 US Open Champion Angelique Kerber backed up her opening round victory over Ajla Tomljanovic to advance to the third round of the tournament after a hard-fought win over Anna-Lena Friedsam.

US Open second round: Kerber d. Friedsam 6-3, 7-6

Key stats of the match: Kerber firing on first serve with 76% in and a 70% conversion rate.

You will also learn: Victory for Kerber means she now faces either Ann Li or Alison Riske in round 3

Why you should read this story: Kerber is a former US Open champion and three-time major champ, but she endured a miserable 2019 season. Can she return to the winners’ circle?

The 17th seeded German, who also won the Australian Open and was runner-up in Wimbledon in 2016, endured a strangely subdued 2019, with two first round defeats including here at Flushing Meadows.

There were early signs that the popular former champ is getting back to somewhere close to where she wants to be, and two breaks of the Friedsam serve led to a fairly comfortable 6-3 opening set.

It looked as if it may be an easy ride after Kerber broke in the opening game of the second set. But Friedsam, who has never been beyond the opening round in New York, was proving a durable opponent and having broken back, the second went into a tie-break.

It proved a topsy-turvy affair, mini-breaks coming and going before finally Kerber settled the matter on her second match point as Friedsam fired long.

“You know it was a really tricky match, especially if you play against a German it’s always not so easy mentally, but I think it was a really good match,” said Kerber after the match. “She served good, and was going for the balls. So I was trying to move good and taking my chances, being aggressive as well when I get the chance and try to keep fighting until the end. It’s always special to return to a place where you have won, and especially for a grand slam. It’s a really special place for me.

“Everything started for me here in 2011, a long time ago and I’m still here competing. I try to enjoy my tennis, try to work hard, and coming here, competing, this is what I love and I try to do my best here.”

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