A seemingly comfortable evening for Angelique Kerber was thrown off course by Kiki Bertens’ spectacular fightback in Singapore.
Kiki Bertens stunned top seed Angelique Kerber with a comeback win in their WTA Finals opener, continuing her fine record against the world’s best players.
The world number nine scraped into the season-ending Singapore tournament courtesy of Simona Halep’s back injury and she looked out of her depth as she fell a set and a break down to Kerber on Monday.
But Bertens came into the match with a WTA Tour-leading 10 wins against top-10 stars so far this year and she rallied in remarkable fashion to down the German 1-6 6-3 6-4 for victory number 11.
Neither player convinced in the third set as breaks were traded with baffling ease, yet Bertens will emerge from the Red Group clash with credit after the Finals delivered another upset.
— WTA (@WTA) October 22, 2018
The opening set settled, further Bertens errors – including another costly double fault – resulted in an effortless break at the start of the second.
However, a first wobble from Kerber opened the door for Bertens to level up the set with a smash into the open court at the net, before a pivotal game went against the favourite and another break followed.
The Wimbledon champion believed she had accurately measured a lob on the stretch, celebrating a point to clinch the game, but the decision went against her and she lost her appeal, granting Bertens the opportunity to push hard and break through against an uncharacteristic double fault.
That was enough for Bertens to tie the match with her serve and the now confident underdog charged into the lead with a swift break in the third.
Yet in an extraordinary stretch that saw both players apparently lose composure, that was the first of seven games to go against serve at the start of the final set.
It was Bertens who emerged with the advantage, though, and a crucial hold with an ace teed up an impressive triumph, showing her worth in Singapore at this early stage as the lower seed won for the fourth straight Finals match.
Bertens  bt Kerber  1-6 6-3 6-4
Bertens – 33/45
Kerber – 11/24
Bertens – 5/12
Kerber – 0/3
BREAK POINTS WON
Bertens – 6/14
Kerber – 6/13
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Bertens – 53
Kerber – 57
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Bertens – 65/39
Kerber – 58/49
Bertens – 92
Kerber – 95