Sun, Oct 02, 2016 - Page 12 News List

World No. 1 Kerber armed for assault at China Open

AFP, BEIJING

New world No. 1 Angelique Kerber yesterday said that she was focused on her “weapon” as she hits the court in Beijing for the China Open.

“At the end you are trying to [be focused] more on your weapon, on your game, than on the weapon from your opponents,” she told reporters in Beijing.

The two-time Grand Slam champion flew to Beijing from Wuhan where she was ousted in the third round in an epic 3.5- hour match by eventual champion Petra Kvitova.

The German — who last month ended veteran Serena Williams’ 186-week run as No. 1 — will face a qualifier in the first round of the China Open’s main draw.

Although the 28-year-old has remained very level-headed despite her rise to the top of women’s tennis, she admitted that being No. 1 was a boost.

“I have much more confidence when I’m on court. I know what to do in the important moments,” she said. “That came from the experience which I learned in the last years, especially this year.”

Defending China Open champion Garbine Mugaruza met Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the opening round yesterday.

Meanwhile, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig crashed out of the first round — her second consecutive first-round exit — to Belgium Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-0.

On the men’s side, world No. 1 and six-time China Open winner Novak Djokovic is not in Beijing to defend his almost flawless China Open record.

An elbow injury has forced the 12-time Grand Slam champion to pull out, opening the door for Andy Murray who sat out the tournament last year.

The men’s main draw starts tomorrow, with tournament’s top seeds Murray and Rafael Nadal both facing Italians in the first round: newly-wed Andreas Seppi and 35th-ranked Paolo Lorenzi respectively.

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