Former world number one Angelique Kerber continued her 2018 resurgence with a 6-4 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty in the Sydney International final on Saturday, giving herself a welcome boost ahead of next week's Australian Open.
Kerber, who began past year as No 1 before finishing at No 22, continued her 2018 resurgence with a thumping 6-3, 6-1 win over Slovakia Dominika Cibulkova.
Kerber had played 26 tournaments in a row without winning the title.
Bidding to become the first Australian woman to win in Sydney since Alicia Molik in 2005 player, Barty beat Kerber the last time they met but ominously the German is yet to lose in 2018.
"This start is not bad, for sure", Kerber said.
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IN outscored Cleveland 32-16 in the third quarter to erase a 14-point halftime deficit and take a 76-74 lead after three quarters. Casey's reliance on the bench was necessary with former all-stars Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka missing the game.
Now ranked outside the world's top 20, Kerber's form so far suggests that she has what it takes to reclaim her former mantle as the best player on the WTA tour.
"I am playing unbelievable tennis again and feeling just great", Kerber said.
"I have had a great week and the final was not easy against Ash but I was able to play my game in important moments". But I'm feeling good - I'm healthy.
Barty, ranked nineteenth, cruised past Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2, while 25th-ranked Gavrilova had direct passage to the last four when Spain's Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza withdrew after her win over Kiki Bertens with a thigh injury. It was Kerber's 11th career title.
In men's quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Fabio Fognini beat No. 5 Adrian Mannarino 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2, Daniil Medvedev defeated Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-3, and Benoit Paire beat second-seeded Gilles Muller 6-4, 6-4.