Melbourne - World number seven Angelique
Kerber booked her place in the Australian Open third round Thursday with a
workmanlike 6-2, 6-4 win over Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru.
The German survived a huge scare in her
opening-round clash, pulling herself back from the brink by saving a match
point in a second-set tiebreaker against Japan's Misaki Doi.
She learned from the fright and was far
more focused against Dulgheru, who had never been beyond the first round in
four previous Australian Opens appearances.
"I'm very happy about my game tonight.
The first round was really difficult for me. I wasn't really playing my
game," said Kerber.
"Today I was more aggressive. I have
worked more on my serve and movement."
She praised the atmosphere on Margaret
Court Arena and vowed to "be around for a few more days yet".
Her reward is a third-round match-up with
America's Madison Brengle as she stayed on track for a projected quarter-final
against third-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.
Dulgheru pulled herself up through the
rankings to 61 last year and reached her third career final at Kuala Lumpur
last year, losing to Caroline Wozniacki, but was no match for the seasoned
German in the first set.
Kerber, who is looking to go beyond the
fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time, got a break in the fourth
game and another in the sixth with the Romanian outclassed.
But it was a closer affair in the second
set with a revitalised Dulgheru going ahead with a break in the third. But
Kerber, who turned 28 this week, immediately broke back and then again to seal
victory in 73 minutes.