Angelique Kerber won her first title since the 2016 U.S. Open and extended her winning streak to nine matches with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty in the Sydney International final on Saturday. "I think even though it may not be ideal at the moment, it's still good enough to win matches".
Barty held just once in the first set but reversed the momentum in the second when she broke in the ninth game after Gavrilova double faulted twice, which prompted the 23-year-old to smash her racquet in frustration and earn a code violation.
"Every match will be tough, but first of all, I will just be enjoying today, the title, and then from tomorrow I will be thinking about Melbourne".
But Kerber, now ranked 22nd in the world after a disappointing 2017 campaign, proved too strong for Giorgi despite the Italian racing to a 3-0 lead in the second set.
"I am playing fantastic tennis again and feeling just great".
"And Angie is on fire".
Gavrilova was playing her third successive Australian opponent in Sydney.
Barty though does have what it takes to defeat Kerber.
Elsewhere, Belgian Elise Mertens defended her Hobart International title with a rain-interrupted win over first-time WTA finalist Mihaela Buzarnescu.
With the break in hand and a 4-3 lead, the German didn't falter, remaining aggressive and serving out the match three games later to win her first title in Sydney after falling in the 2014 final.
"What she's achieved in her career, the accolades she's had, you can't do anything but respect her".
"I think there is that mutual respect, which is wonderful to get respect from such a champion like Angie".
The German will meet Italian qualifier and world No 100 Camila Giorgi, who upset Poland's former world No 2 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2. "It's nice to be able to get a lot of matches here and be rewarded with the final".
Barty also looks to have set herself for a deep run at the Australian Open, after making the third round of the tournament past year.
Sharapova was given a wildcard in Stuttgart in March previous year, even though her suspension didn't allow her to play her first-round match until the third day of the tournament - a decision Kerber labelled at the time as "a little bit strange".
James Buckley writes on AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald.