Williams, 36, should be back in the game soon. Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, told me that Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, was still planning to return to the circuit at the tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.
But for now, Kerber, who turned 30 on Thursday, is the veteran champion working her way back in a sunlit place. She is also, after beating Sharapova, the last major singles women’s champion left heading into the round of 16. Kerber, a German, will face Hsieh Su-wei, a 32-year-old from Taiwan who is known best for her doubles prowess.
“Angie is already one step ahead of everybody else because nobody else knows what it’s like to win a Grand Slam,” said the Australian Rennae Stubbs, a television analyst and former player. “It’s bloody hard to do it….