Kerber beats Barty to win Sydney title

Ashleigh Barty There is nothing better than playing at home

Former world number one Angelique Kerber maintained her ideal record in 2018 as she saw off Camila Giorgi in straight sets to reach the Sydney International final.

In the men's draw, Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev rallied to defeat 18-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur 1-6 6-4 7-5 in the final.

"I am playing awesome tennis again and I am just feeling great".

However, Kerber - who will move back into the top 20 as a result of her return to form - is unlikely to have the home crowd on her side, as she will face Australian Ashleigh Barty in the final. "I have been fighting all week and felt like I wasn't playing good tennis but today I did".

"The final against Ash was not easy, but I was able to play my game in important moments".

Kerber had a breakout season in 2016, beating Serena Williams in the final to claim her first major title at the Australian Open and going on to reach the Wimbledon final and win the U.S. Open.

"It's just the beginning of the year, but I think I'm getting closer to my best the level again and just trying to focus from match to match and trying to play again my tennis like I played in the last years, especially 2016".

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The Ipswich product responded by reeling off the first three games of the second but each time Gavrilova fought back, Barty continued to make inroads into her serve.

Barty found her range on Saturday after losing an error-ridden first set at Sydney Olympic Park, but the German two-time grand slam champion was the more composed in the 6-4 6-4 victory - her ninth-straight in 2018.

Kerber and Barty went on service until the seventh game, when the German broke after a loose Barty game when she lost serve to love with a forehand into the net.

She becomes the first Australian to reach the final since 2005, when countrywomen Alicia Molik and Samantha Stosur contested the showpiece.

"And Angie is on fire".

Her Sydney campaign is strong preparation for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne, where she opens against world number 69 Aryna Sabalenka.

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