Angelique Kerber averted a threatening first round at the 2021 US Open with fighting strength and great nerves: The former world number one sat on the opening day of the Grand Slam tournament in New York in an extremely close match 3: 6, 6: 4, 7: 6 ( 7: 3) against the Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska and now meets her compatriot Angelina Kalinina.
The match between the three-time Grand Slam tournament winner from Kiel and the Ukrainian started extremely lively. Both players performed their own service once before a real break festival started on Court 17.
It all started with Kerber, who took Yastremska’s serve to make it 2-1. However, this gave the German number one only limited security. As a result, Kerber had to give up her service twice in a row and the Ukrainian also received another break.
Only when the score was 3: 3 it was Yastremska who was able to play her service game again for the first time. From then on, the 21-year-old played as if unleashed and scored time and again with spectacular strokes.
Kerber had little to counter the power of the Ukrainian in the final phase of the first set, had to accept another break (3: 5) and shortly afterwards also give up the first round (3: 6).
Kerber Fights back against Yastremska
A completely different picture emerged in sentence two. Unlike in the first round, both players served extremely concentrated, which is why there was not a single break opportunity for a long time.
The first and only break ball had Kerber, who really fought her way into the game in the second set, at a score of 5: 4 from her point of view. The Kielerin took advantage of this opportunity and secured the set (6: 4). Kerber also benefited from numerous Unforced Errors from her opponent, who continued to play with a lot of risk and was always out for the winner.
The decision sentence could not have started better for the German number one. After the 33-year-old was able to fend off a break ball on her own serve, she took the serve from Yastremska early to make it 2-0.
Kerber crowns a furious comeback
However, the Ukrainian was not impressed by this, continued to take full risk in her strokes and immediately took the break back.
And Yastremska now stays on the trigger, scored four points in a row and set it to 4: 2 and a little later to 5: 3. Kerber struggled passionately against the impending defeat, only reduced it to 4: 5 and then took the serve to 5: 5 from the 21-year-old, who had already served to win the match.
A gripping nerve battle developed, which culminated in a decisive tie-break. This started almost perfectly for Kerber. The Kielerin let Yastremska go and quickly made it 5: 1. A little later, Kerber converted her first match point with a score of 6: 3 in the tie-break after a total of 2:28 hours.
“It was incredibly difficult. When I saw the draw, I thought: ‘This will not be an easy match.’ I won the match today mentally. With the fight and the heart that I left on the pitch, “said Kerber, relieved on the Eurosport microphone.