Factbox on Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who beat Serena Williams at the Australian Open to clinch her first grand slam title in 2016. The World No.1 will now be the defending champion at the tournament starting on 16th January:
Born: Bremen, Germany on January 18, 1988. (Age: 28)
GRAND SLAM CAREER (Best Performances):
US Open – Champion (2016); Silver Medal – Olympics (2016); Wimbledon – Final (2016); Australian Open – Champion (2016); French Open – Quarter-final (2012); Wimbledon – Semi-final (2012); U.S. Open – Semi-final (2011).
Began playing tennis aged three and grew up idolising Steffi Graf.
Turned professional in 2003 aged 15 and spent four years building the consistency needed to qualify for regular tour events
Made first main draw in 2006 at Hasselt in Belgium, losing to Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in the second round.
Cracked the top-100 for the first in May 2007 and made he first WTA quarter-final at ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Made her first grand slam main draw at Roland Garros, which she followed up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, though she lost in the first round of each.
Played her first Australian Open main draw in 2008, reaching the second round before losing to Italy’s Francesca Schiavone.
Makes her first WTA tour final in Bogota in 2010, beating top-seeded Argentine Gisela Dulko in the semi-finals before losing to local Mariana Duque-Mario 6-4 6-3. Enters top 50 for the first time in July.
Has a breakthrough in 2011 with her first grand slam semi-final appearance at the U.S. Open, losing to eventual champion Sam Stosur of Australia.
Begins 2012 with two semi-finals in Auckland and Hobart before she beats Maria Sharapova, the top seed, in the quarter-finals in Paris, then beats second seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli to clinch her first title.
Beats Caroline Wozniacki to clinch her second title in Copenhagen and also makes finals at Eastbourne and Cincinnatti.
Also advances to quarter-final at Roland Garros and Wimbledon semi-finals, where she loses to Agnieszka Radwanska. Goes on to lose in the quarter-finals of the London Olympics tournament to Victoria Azarenka.
Made the WTA Tour Finals for first time and finishes the year a career-high fifth.
Despite continuing to remain in the top-10 she endures a frustrating 2014, where she makes four finals and loses them all.
Crashes out in first round of 2015 Australian Open to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, though wins four titles on four different surfaces, becoming the first woman since Jelena Jankovic in 2007 to win WTA Tour titles on green clay, red clay, grass and hard courts.
Qualified for her third season-ending WTA Finals, beating Petra Kvitova in the round robin and needed to win just one set against Czech Lucie Safarova to advance to semi-finals but lost 6-4 6-3.
Makes the final of the 2016 Brisbane International before the season-opening grand slam, losing to Azarenka. Withdrew from the second round of the Sydney tournament with gastro-intestinal illness.
Almost repeats her first round exit of 2015 at Melbourne Park when she is forced to save a match-point against Japan’s Misaki Doi, while she found herself 2-5 down in the second set against Azarenka in the last eight before recovering to reel off five successive games.
Surprises tennis world by playing superb defence to win her first grand slam title, the first by a German since Steffi Graf in 1999, with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Serena Williams.
Makes it to the final at Wimbledon and wins first silver medal at Rio Olympics after losing out to Monica Puig.
Wins yet another Grand Slam at US Open against Karolina Pliskova 6–3, 4–6, 6–4.
PATH TO THE FINAL (2016) (prefix denotes seeding):
1st round – bt Misaki Doi (Japan) 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 6-3
2nd round – bt Alexandra Dulgheru (Romania) 6-2 6-4
3rd round – bt Madison Brengle (U.S.) 6-1 6-3
4th round – bt Annika Beck (Germany) 6-4 6-0
QF – bt 14-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) 6-3 7-5
SF – bt Johanna Konta (Britain) 7-5 6-2
(Compiled by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)