Angelique Kerber gave herself a confidence boost ahead of Wimbledon, which starts Monday, by winning her first tournament in 3 years to take the inaugural Bad Homburg Open presented by Engel & Volkers title with a straight-set victory over Katerina Siniakova, 6-3 6-2, after an hour 25 minutes.
You play for these moments, being on court, playing in front of your fans, family, crowd. This is something really special. I’m really happy that I won this tournament, a special tournament at home. It means a lot to me, and after all the months which we’ve gone through, standing here with this trophy, it’s something great. Angelique Kerber
It is the German’s 13th WTA singles title of her career and her first since winning Wimbledon in 2018.
After losing two finals in 2019, this is Kerber’s first tournament win since beating Serena Williams to win Wimbledon, when she claimed her 3rd Grand Slam title.
“It means a lot to me today,” said Kerber, whose family was watching in the stands. “This is my surface, I felt very comfortable on grass and I’m just happy to have finally won a tournament again.
“To be able to do all this in front of my friends and family is even nicer.”
This was Kerber’s 3rd grass-court title, alongside Wimbledon and Birmingham in 2015, and the 13th tournament win of her career.
The 33-year-old had struggled this season and slipped down to a world ranking of 28, but she has proved her form this week in Bad Homburg, near Frankfurt.
Back in a final for the first time in two years and playing in front of a home crowd, the former World No 1 champion broke Siniakova’s serve 6 times en route to the title.
“It’s a really special one to win here, another title,” said the German, who upset top-seeded Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals. “It’s a great feeling and thank you to everyone.”
Kerber adds the Bad Homburg title to her two other wins on home territory in Stuttgart in 2015 and 2016.
Unlike her previous two matches on Friday, in which she had been made to come back from a set down, Kerber had a relatively easier time against the Czech, converting 6 of the 13 break points she faced to extend her win-to-loss record against Siniakova to 5-1.
The No 4 seed was in commanding form as she swept to victory over the unseeded Czech after a gripping start to the match where 4 of the first 7 games were won with pristine returning.
Kerber took charge for good at 4-3, earning her 3rd break point of the game with a stunning error-forcing angled groundstroke, and then was rewarded with a double-fault from Siniakova to put the German ahead 5-3.
Serving for the set in another gruelling game, Kerber had to save 3 break points, the third being erased with a cracking forehand winner down the line while the next rally also ended with a down-the-line forehand to queue up set point, which she converted by firing a big backhand to get a netted reply from Siniakova.
The Czech had passes up her sleeve as well, using one from her sturdy backhand side to level the second set at 2-2, but Kerber continued to force errors from Siniakova’s forehand as she reeled off game after game to pull away.
By the end, Kerber had won the last 4 games of the match, converting her 3rd match point after forcing another error to notch the win at home, winning 77% of points when returning the second serve of her Czech opponent.
“You play for these moments, being on court, playing in front of your fans, family, crowd,” she said. “This is something really special.
“I’m really happy that I won this tournament, a special tournament at home. It means a lot to me, and after all the months which we’ve gone through, standing here with this trophy, it’s something great”
Seeded 25th at Wimbledon, Kerber plays Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic in the first round next week, with a potential third-round clash against seven-time Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams on the cards.
About her comfort on playing on grass, Kerber added, “Everyone knows I love to play on grass, and I really feel well.
“Of course, to play the final here, with this atmosphere and these fans, it’s great. I love to play on this surface, let’s see and hope if I can continue this next week [at Wimbledon].
“I’m going without expectations, like I played here: every single round is a win,” Kerber, added.
“I will just focus on every single match, every single round, and enjoy the time on and off court, like here.”
Former top-ranked doubles player Siniakova, from the Czech Republic, drops to a career 2-4 record in singles finals.
In the doubles final, it was the No 1 seeds who took home the Bad Homburg title, as Croatia’s Darija Jurak & Andreja Klepac of Slovenia defeated No 2 seeds Ukraine’s Nadiia Kichenok & Raluca Olaru of Romania, 6-3 6-1.
The top seeds needed just over an hour to win, going one better than their previous best showing as a team, when they finished as runners-up to Coco Gauff & Caty McNally earlier this season in Parma.
The Bad Homburg crown marks Jurak’s 8th career WTA doubles title, while Klepac now has 9, and it is Jurak’s 2nd title of the season after she paired with Alexa Guarachi to win in Dubai.
Jurak & Klepac were nearly impeccable on delivery in the final, winning 80 percent of points behind their first serves, saving all 4 of the break points they faced as they swept to the championship trophy.