On Thursday Angelique Kerber officially became the top women’s tennis player in the world. On Saturday she showed tennis fans why.
Kerber beat No. 10-seed Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to win her first U.S. Open title and the second major of her career.
“It’s just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam in one year,” Kerber said after the match. “That’s the best year in my career.”
The 28-year-old German played her normal brand of consistent tennis from the start of the match. In her third Grand Slam final of the year, Kerber’s big-match experience was evident against Pliskova, who was playing in her first ever major final.
Pliskova, who played a stellar match to beat Serena Williams in the semifinals, was shaky in the first set of Saturday’s final. She made 17 unforced errors in the set compared to just three from Kerber, who won the opener 6-3.
The tour leader in aces, Pliskova came out more composed and agressive in the second set and worked her way into a 5-3 lead. Kerber held to bring it to 5-4, but Pliskova won her service game to force a deciding third set.
Pliskova picked up a huge break to go up 2-1 in the third set, but Kerber broke back to even things at 3-3. Kerber then picked up another break in the final game of the match to seal the victory.
“Even though I couldn’t get the win I’m really proud of myself and happy with the way I was playing the last three weeks,” Pliskova said after the match. “Hopefully many more finals to come.”
Kerber became the No. 1 player in the world after Pliskova beat Williams in Thursday’s semifinal. Williams had held the No. 1 ranking for a record 186 consecutive weeks.
“It means a lot to me,” Kerber said. “When I was a kid I was always dreaming to be one day the No. 1 player in the world, to win Grand Slams. And today is the day.”
Kerber finished a stellar 2016 Grand Slam run, going to three finals and winning two of them. Her other win came at the Australian Open in January, while she lost in the Wimbledon final and in the quarterfinals at the French Open.
“All the dreams came true this year,” Kerber said.
Source: CBS Sports / U.S. Open final results: New world No. 1 Angelique Kerber wins second major