WTA Best Matches of 2013: 10. Kuznetsova d. Kerber (French Open)


10. Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Angelique Kerber, 6-4 3-6 6-4 (French Open, R4)

I am starting my top ten countdown with a 4th round match from this year’s French Open between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber.  Roland Garros has delivered few high quality matches in recent years, but in my opinion, this was a much better year with Kuznetsova and Kerber playing out my favourite match from Paris.  The pair had played just 4 weeks prior in Madrid, a tight tussle that Kerber won 7-5 in the third so this was eagerly anticipated to be another close match.

On the middle Sunday, it was one of the few matches from Roland Garros that I got to watch in its entirety.  This was a really competitive encounter with lengthy rallies and lots of winners (48 for Kuznetsova and 37 for Kerber).  The match began in mysteriously similar fashion to their encounter in Madrid as Kuznetsova came out of the blocks fast, demonstrating her superior clay court prowess to go up a set and a break on Kerber.  However, like Madrid and many of Svetlana’s matches, the wheels started to come off as Kerber won the next five games to force a decider.

It looked like it would be another chance gone by the wayside for Kuznetsova, but she stepped up her game to get the early break in the third set. All the way through, I was expecting Kerber to gain the ascendancy, but it never happened as she became too comfortable in sitting back and defending, and letting Kuznetsova dictate.  I thought Kuznetsova may also hand the initiative back, but she finished with real authority and the best shot of the match, a razor sharp forehand down-the-line.  I really enjoyed this match and it is not the last we’ll see of Kerber in my top 10.  I am not sure why, but I always enjoy matches featuring Kerber and she was heavily featured in my top 20 list last year too.  You can see the highlights from this match on the French Open website HERE.

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