Germany’s Angelique Kerber beat Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in straight sets to win the Sydney International, her ninth consecutive victory of the new season on Saturday. The former world no 1 was too strong for Barty, winning the final 6-4, 6-4 to give her a massive confidence boost for next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne.

It was Kerber’s second win over the 19th-ranked Barty in three meetings. Kerber, who began last year as no 1 before finishing at no 22, continued her 2018 resurgence and remains unbeaten this year.

Kerber won her four matches at last week’s mixed teams Hopman Cup in Perth before her five victories in Sydney. It was the first time an Australian woman featured in the Sydney International final since 2005 when Alicia Molik took the title over Sam Stosur.