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No wonder that with a check of 38,500 AUS$dollars for losers of the first round, all German players who qualified for the Australian Open were happy to compete. Immediately were four of the German players out. But at least Daniel Brands managed to reach the second round. Well, none of the Germans was seeded, said Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann, so it may have happened because of an unlucky draw that Alexander Zverev had to play second seeded Andy Murray and Kohlschreiber the Japanese Nishikori, the number seven in the world.

On the other hand the German women played exceptionally well. Laura Siegemund beat the former world Number one, Jelena Jankovic, before she was later defeated by Annika Beck. But it got even better. Annika Beck beat the Swiss top player Timea Bacsinszky (11) and Anna-Lena Friedsam the US Open finalist Roberta Vinci.

One had to see it to believe it! Who would have thought that three germanwoemen, Beck (56), Friedsam (99) and Angie Kerber (10), would make it in the second week, something which not even Simona Halep (2) Garbine Muguruza (3 ) Petra Kvitova (6) and Venus Williams (8) had managed to achieve. It was also unthinkable that Anna-Lena Friedsam was about to ousted Agnieszka Radwanska, the WTA World Champion. She was ahead 5:2 in the third set but then, alas, cramps in the thigh - the end of her dream in a sensational coup.

What a pity; but there were still Annika Beck and Angie Kerber and both of them so badly wanted to reach the fifth round. It didn't happen because they had to play against each other. But at least one was successful. It was Angie. Annika said afterwards, with plenty of good will, "Angie has demonstrated why she is in the top ten in and why she belongs there."  And that Angie does belong there was proved directly afterwards when she defeated the two time Australian Open winner, Victoria Azarenka. "A tough cookie who played fantastic tennis in a terrific match", said Torben Beltz the coach of Kerber.
But that was not enough, Kerber wanted more. This time it was the finals she was after having twice reached the semifinals. The semis at the US Open (2011) and Wimbledon (2012). And she did it - against the imposing englishwoman, Johanna Konta, too..


Goodness gracious!  Kerber was in the final. The big day arrived. "Half the dream has been fulfilled", she said, adding, "I'll try to show Serena that I'm here. I want to win too!." Now was this mere coincidence or just good foresight? Eurosport, with the Australian Open broadcasting rights, announced in a commercial ahead of the Grand Slam tournament that Serena Williams was the favorite, but that the German players would try to 'bite back' and indeed, Angie did just that.

And how beautiful it was, all that drama of the thrilling final. First set to Angie. The second to Serena. Then in the third Angie moved ahead to 5:2. But Serena held out against it and brought it to 5:5. Angie didn't give in and fought out the next three points to win. Pure joy. Angie, she had had to fend off a match point in her first match and felt that she was "already with one foot back on the plane home." She threw her racquet away, plopped down on her back and howled with happiness. It was the fulfillment of her desires - the goal of her dreams.   

The Australian Open -  it was just wonderful tennis Down Under! There was always a terrific atmosphere, a fantastic feeling overall and never boring. How could it be? Novak Djokovic, who had beaten Roger Federer in the semis, snatched the titel from Andy Murray once again.

And for me it was just the same as when Steffi Graf and Boris Becker showed their great joy at their victories all those years ago. And maybe Annika Beck, Laura Siegemund and Anna-Lena Friedsam, the players of the Porsche team, can make it as well - they're hot and Angie Kerber has shown them just how it's done.

              Eberhard Pino Mueller

--  published:   March 2016 
          DTZ  Deutsche Tennis Zeitung
          tennis portal: 

--  translated:
                     by Vivien Metzger
                     by Margot M. Estermann

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