Kerber issues Australian Open warning with Sydney triumph

Daria Gavrilova playing a double-fisted backhand against Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International

Daria Gavrilova playing a double-fisted backhand against Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International

Australia's top-ranked female Ashleigh Barty has fallen short of winning a first title on home soil, losing the Sydney International final to resurgent former world No.1 Angelique Kerber.

A double-fault midway through the first set cost Barty a crucial break point as Kerber claimed the first set 6-4.

Kerber, who began last year as No.1 before finishing at No.22, continued her 2018 resurgence and remains unbeaten this year.

Kerber, who began a year ago at the top of the rankings before finishing at No. 22, won her seventh straight match of 2018, including four singles at the Hopman Cup last week.

"I am playing fantastic tennis again and feeling just great", quipped the 29-year-old.

The German took that energy in the second set, breaking Barty in the very first game.

With the break in hand and a 4-3 lead, the German didn't falter, remaining aggressive and serving out the match three games later to win her first title in Sydney after falling in the 2014 final.

Barty's big first serve helped her but Kerber was the more composed and was not put under pressure when the Australian had the chance.

"I felt like it was a pretty good level".

"And Angie is on fire".

"I'm drawn to play Tuesday so the preparation is slightly different as if I was playing on Monday", Barty said.

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