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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday March 8, 2024


An inspired Angelique Kerber notched her first Top-10 win since 2021 on Friday at Indian Wells.

Photo Source: Getty

It’s a mom bonanza at the BNP Paribas Open, with seven moms making the main draw, and all seven of them making the second round.

Tennis Express

The good times continued on Friday as Angelique Kerber took center stage and kicked her comeback into the next gear with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over tenth-ranked Jelena Ostapenko on Stadium 2.

The victory marked Kerber's first Top-10 win since 2021, and the first since she has returned to the sport from maternity leave in 2024.

The excitement that Kerber feels in this new stage of her career is palpable. The 36-year-old is beaming from ear-to-ear, happy to be back on the tour with the new perspective gained from becoming a mother last February, to daughter Liana.

“I'm showing myself actually that hard work pays off, that I just have to make the transition from the practice court to the match court,” she told reporters. “This is what I felt before this tournament, that I need a lot of matches, especially matches like this, playing against the top players, and that I have the feeling that I'm strong again in important moments.”

Kerber has her daughter Liana with her in Indian Wells, and tells reporters that the experience has been inspiring on many levels.

“For me, the biggest motivation is the love for the sport,” she said. “I love to compete, being out there today as well, having this crowd, having the emotions, this gives me everything.

“Having my daughter [by] my side, it's even more inspiring for me,” she said. “There’s something bigger than tennis as well, which I learned, and it's not tennis anymore, it's her. And having the combination of doing something I love and having her by my side, this is the most inspiration for me.”

36-year-old Kerber struggled at the beginning of the season, displaying rust as she took the court just 11 months after giving birth to her first child. She lost of six of seven matches but seemed to gain footing nevertheless.

Here at Indian Wells, where she has defeated Petra Martic and Ostapenko to set a round of 32 clash with Veronika Kudermetova, she’s looking more like the player that once held the No.1 ranking and won three Grand Slam singles titles.

Her good friend and fellow mom Caroline Wozniacki agrees.

Wozniacki, who defeated Donna Vekic 7-6(5), 6-3 on Friday, said she was watching Kerber’s match – and rooting for her.

“I think I always root for her, I think I always have, for a very long time,” Wozniacki, who came back from maternity last summer, said. “Not having played many matches, it's not easy, especially not easy playing a player like Ostapenko, so for her to really have the grit and the fight and the movement that she had today, and the way she was moving around the ball, I think just shows that she keeps playing better and better for every match – she feels more and more comfortable.

“That was good to see. I definitely watched some on TV when I was waiting for my match.” Wozniacki will face Katie Volynets, who defeated Ons Jabeur 6-4, 6-4, on Sunday at Indian Wells.

The Dane, a mother of two, commenced her comeback last summer.


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