Angelique Kerber wins first title since 2016 US Open with Sydney victory

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Angelique Kerber won her first title since claiming the US Open crown in 2016 with victory over Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International.

The German has been a different player at the start of this season to the one who struggled so badly in 2017 and goes into the Australian Open as a real contender to reclaim the title she won two years ago.

Barty was looking for her first WTA Tour title on home soil but it was Kerber who seized the initiative in the match and went on to win 6-4 6-4.

“I am playing amazing tennis again and feeling just great,” said Kerber, who was ranked number one this time last year but has slumped to 22nd, on wtatennis.com.

“It feels very good to win my first title in my first tournament this year. I have had a great week and the final was not easy against Ash. I feel like I am getting closer to my 2016 level.”

Elise Mertens successfully defended her Hobart International title with a 6-1 4-6 6-3 victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu.

The final was interrupted by two rain breaks, the second of which came with Mertens only two points away from victory at 5-2 and deuce.

Buzarnescu saved a match point to force Mertens to serve it out but that proved to be no problem for the Belgian.

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