Angelique Kerber capped off her rise to WTA World No.1 by winning her first US Open title, edging past No.10 seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

Published September 10, 2016 12:16 by

NEW YORK, NY, USA – Angelique Kerber capped off her rise to WTA World No.1 by winning her firstUS Open title, edging past No.10 seed Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

“It’s just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam of the year and it’s the best year of my career,” Kerber said after the match.

“For me everything started here in 2011,” she added, referring to when she made the semifinals ranked No.92. “And now here, five years later I’m standing here with the trophy. All the dreams came true this year.”

Pliskova, who was contesting the first Grand Slam final of her career, opened the match looking a bit nervy, hitting four unforced errors in her first service game – including a wild forehand volley at the net. She broke a string just as Kerber broke her serve, and the German consolidated to build up a 2-0 lead.

But now with a couple of games in the bag, both players began to settle into the match and bring out the sparring tennis they’ve produced in their past seven encounters. Kerber defending the ball well then found open court with her famously consistent ground strokes, keeping Pliskova on the run. For her part, the Czech took advantage of Kerber’s short balls and pounced on her second serve, but the loose errors proved to be her undoing as Kerber broke again to take the first set.

Pliskova recovered in the second set, rolling through her service games to keep the pressure on Kerber. She grabbed her chance to finally earn a break at 4-3, charging the net – an area where she’s been dominating all match long – and drew Kerber in before hitting a perfect lob that just caught the baseline.

Into a deciding set, Kerber quickly found herself down an early break as Pliskova carried on her momentum for a 2-1 lead. But the new World No.1 remained undaunted, breaking back to level the score at 3-3. With over two hours played, Pliskova ran out of steam towards the end, hitting three unforced errors and being broken to love as Kerber collapsed to the ground as the US Open champion.

“This what’s happened in the last two weeks, it’s just incredible,” Kerber said afterwards. “Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the No. 1 number, actually. This was what I was trying to improving with the pressure.”

“And also, today, I mean, it’s always tough to going in the final when I know the opponent beats me like two or three weeks ago. That was also a challenge what I told myself, Okay, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina.”

With the victory, Kerber cements her spot at the top of the rankings, and becomes the first German since Steffi Graf in 1996 to win the US Open title.

For Pliskova, who will rise to No.6 in the rankings after the loss, there’s no sadness or regrets after competing in such a high-quality, closely contested major final, the first of her career.

“I think I did a great job,” she said in her post-match press conference. “It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match.”

“I’m so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I’m going to play finals in this tournament [two weeks ago] I would take it. No sadness.”

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