2018 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber reached the final of the Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Volkers after an arduous day playing both the quarter and semi-finals on Friday because rain washed out play on Thursday.
It was really fighting until the end, and I was trying to believe that I can win the match and turn around the third set. Of course, when you play at home, the atmosphere here is amazing. I think that it was also important for me to win a match like this, against Petra, because the last few months, I have lost really tough matches. The match against Petra shows me that I am still able to win matches like this. Angelique Kerber
The 3-time Grand Slam winner pulled double duty, beating American Amanda Ansisimova, 2-6 6-3 6-3 before eking out a win over top seed Petra Kvitova, 3-6 6-4 7-6(3), delighting the home crowd.
In the final, Kerber, the German former World No 1 will play Katerina Siniakova, of the Czech Republic, who first toppled No 8 seed Laura Siegemund, also from Germany, 7-5 6-4, before dispatching Spanish No 7 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-2 6-4.
In quarter-final matches earlier in the day, Kvitova defeated No 5 seed Nadia Podoroska from Argentina, 6-3 7-6(10), while Sorribes Tormo received a walkover when Victoria Azarenka, the No 2 seed from Belarus withdrew from the tournament.
“I don’t know when I [last] played six sets in one day, I think it’s a long, long time ago,” Kerber said. “But physically I’m feeling good. I will try to recover as fast as possible before tomorrow.”
Coming from down a set, the 4th seed won her quarter-final against Anisimova in an hour and 34 minutes, and she had to do the same against Kvitova in the late semi-final match.
Kerber held a 8-6 lead in their 14 previous head-to-head matches but Kvitova hit 12 winners to 5 unforced errors and broke in the 4th game to take the first set 6-3.
The Czech No 1 seed then went up a break twice to take a 3-1 lead, but Kerber broke back both times to draw level to 3-3 in the second.
Kerber started with a return winner at 5-4 and drew two consecutive double-faults from Kvitova in the last two points to break serve in the 10th game to level.
Kvitova went up a break 3 times in the decider, but Kerber broke back each time and when the Czech failed to serve out the match at 6-5, the German opened the tiebreak with a forehand winner and went up a 4-0 lead with a crosscourt backhand.
Kerber built a 6-2 lead in the breaker and although Kvitova saved a match point with a forehand, she converted her second chance with a forehand.
“It was really fighting until the end, and I was trying to believe that I can win the match and turn around the third set,” Kerber said later. “Of course, when you play at home, the atmosphere here is amazing.
“I think that it was also important for me to win a match like this, against Petra, because the last few months, I have lost really tough matches.
“The match against Petra shows me that I am still able to win matches like this.”
Kerber’s encounter with Kvitova was the more perilous of her two matches, as she needed just over 2 hours to quash the challenge from her fellow left-hander.
Each broke serve 6 times, and although Kvitova had 6 more winners than Kerber, the German had 11 fewer unforced errors than the Czech.
Kerber will now attempt to claim a 13th WTA singles title in her 31st career final, and her first final since 2019 at Eastbourne, exactly two years ago.
To grab one more champion’s trophy, she will have to defeat another Czech, Siniakova, who has beaten 3 seeded players here already this week.
“[Siniakova] is another tough opponent, and she played well today, she also played two matches,” Kerber said, looking ahead to the final. “I think I will go out there, try to play aggressive, thinking more [about] what I want to do and how I played today, and try to continue this for tomorrow’s match and enjoy the final.”
Siniakova, the World No 76, said after picking up her two wins on Friday: “I’ve never been in a final on grass courts, so I was really fighting the grass.
“But I think I can suit my game to the grass, so I’m really happy that I won four matches and I’m in the final.”
Siniakova, who won her 3rd Grand Slam women’s doubles title alongside Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros earlier this month, has shown off her impressive singles game this week, which previously pulled her into the Top 35 and garnered her two WTA singles titles in 2017.
“I hope, and I’m expecting, that I can use so many volleys from my doubles, because I think I’m pretty good at that,” Siniakova added. “I can use them especially on the grass. I’m really happy this week I was doing them well. I was playing quite a lot at the net, and it worked.”
Siniakova’s quarter-final against Siegemund featured numerous breaks of service, with 10 between them, and she was less troubled on serve during her semi-final, as she only dropped serve once while facing Sorribes Tormo against whom she won 77 percent of her first-service points.
She reeled off the last 5 games of the first set against Sorribes Tormo, then took control early in the second set as well.
At 1-1, Siniakova ended a stirring rally with a volley winner to reach break point, where Sorribes Tormo double-faulted to lose serve.
That would turn out to be the only break point in the entire second set as Siniakova eased to victory.
“I’m expecting a really tough match [in the final],” Siniakova said after her semi-final, at which time her opponent was yet to be determined. “I will try to play my best, and I will try to enjoy it, and we will see how it goes.”
While this is Siniakova’s first WTA final for the 2021 season, for Kerber, the wait for making it to another final has taken two years.
Their Bad Homburg Open final will be the 6th meeting between the two, with Kerber holding a 4-1 record against the Czech, including a win over her at the Grampians Trophy in January 2021.