World number 2, Angelique Kerber will begin her 2019 Australian Open campaign against Polona Hercog from Slovenia.
It has been a tough start to the season for Polona Hercog as she has lost in the opening round at both tournaments she has played at. Hercog last played at the Hobart International where she was beaten in 3 sets which meant that she failed to qualify for the tournament. Prior to that, Polona Hercog lost in the opening round at the WTA Auckland. It was a particularly disappointing performance as she allowed her opponent to win 4 return games. The serving was very poor as Hercog only won half of the points played during her service games. This match is going to be extremely tough for Polona Hercog and she is going to have to improve significantly from Hobart and Auckland if she wishes to compete.
On the other side of the court, Angelique Kerber made it to the quarterfinals of the Sydney International where she was beaten by Petra Kvitova. While Kerber will have been disappointed by the loss, it was a good run for the German as she got much-needed court time. Angelique Kerber is an exceptionally strong player in Australian conditions and she showed that in 2016 when she won the Australian Open title. This is a relatively easy opening round match for Kerber and she will hope to win with some ease.
Angelique Kerber and Polona Hercog have played 6 times in the past. As it currently stands, Kerber has the stronger head-to-head record of 4-2. The most recent match between these two players was at the 2016 US Open where Kerber won.
As far as this match is concerned, I am picking Angelique Kerber to win. Kerber is a much stronger player and with Polona Hercog in terrible form, I see the world number 2 winning with some ease.