LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) - Top seed Angelique Kerber battled past Kirsten Flipkens to reach the third round at Wimbledon, overcoming the Belgian's unorthodox game to win 7-5 7-5 on Thursday.
Kerber, who reached the final last year, again showed signs of the vulnerability that has dogged her game in 2017.
Having claimed the Australian and U.S. Open crowns last year, Kerber has not won a single title this season and struggled for fluency against Flipkens, who tried everything in her power to upset the world number one.
At times in the first set Kerber found Flipkens' game unfathomable as the Belgian tried her luck with a number of perfectly-weighted drop shots and low slices, while frequently charging the net in an effort to upset the German baseliner.
The pair exchanged four successive breaks of serve, before Kerber regained her composure to hold and then broke Flipkens for the third straight time to reassert her authority before taking the first set.
It was another even battle in the second as the players exchanged breaks before Kerber struck decisively in the 11th game and then served out to win in one hour 44 minutes. (Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)