Kerber, Bautista Agut and Mertens win titles
|2018 Australian Open|
|Dates: 15-28 January Venue: Melbourne Park|
|Coverage: Watch highlights on BBC Two, the BBC Sport website and app. Live commentary on the best matches on BBC Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra and online.|
Former world number one Angelique Kerber won the Sydney International, beating home favourite Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-4 in the final.
German Kerber is ranked 22nd after a disappointing 2017 but has won all nine of her matches so far this year.
“I am playing amazing tennis again and I am just feeling great,” said the 2016 Australian Open and US Open winner.
Elsewhere, Roberto Bautista Agut won the Auckland Classic and Elise Mertens won in Hobart.
In the build-up to next week’s Australian Open, Spaniard Bautista Agut defeated Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-1 4-6 7-5 to win the tournament in New Zealand for a second time.
The 29-year-old won the first set in 31 minutes as he broke Del Potro three times before his rival took the second.
But Bautista Agut converted the second of his break points in the third to take a 6-5 lead and then held serve to seal victory.
“It was an unbelievable match,” said Bautista Agut. “I have been fighting all week and felt like I wasn’t playing good tennis but today I did.
“Juan Martin is very tough to beat and I think I just played two amazing games at the end of the match.”
Belgian Mertens beat Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1 4-6 6-3 to successfully defend her Hobart International title.
The final was interrupted by two rain breaks but Mertens kept her composure to serve out for victory.