Germany’s Angelique Kerber began her reign as world number one in imperious style battling past a determined Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-4 to win the US Open final on Saturday and claim her second grand slam title of the year.
Kerber, who officially takes over from Serena Williams as the world’s top ranked player on Monday, underlined her number one status displaying the heart of a champion as she fought off a fierce challenge from Czech 10th seed Pliskova on a steamy afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 28-year-old began the grand slam year beating Serena Williams to lift the Australian Open title and celebrated again on Saturday when she became the first German to win the US Open in 20 years.
Kerber recovered from a break down in the third set, pouncing on her wilting opponent with two breaks in the third set to end a compelling, high-quality battle of attrition that stretched for two hours and seven minutes. “It’s just amazing,” a beaming Kerber, told an adoring crowd after being handed the winner’s cheque of $3.5 million. “I won my second grand slam in one year. That’s the best of my career. Actually just incredible. When I was a kid I was always dreaming to be the number one player in the world and win grand slams and today is the day I won my second grand slam here, especially in New York. I’m the number one player on Monday. All the dreams came true this year.”
Pliskova, who arrived at Flushing Meadows with a reputation of grand slam under-achiever having never before been beyond the third round of the major, shed that label by making it all the way to the final and taking on back-to-back world number ones.
After beating top ranked Serena Williams in the semi-finals to end the American’s record-equalling 186 consecutive weeks stay at the top of the rankings, the big-hitting Pliskova, who has led the WTA Tour in aces the last two season, attacked her successor in the final but could not break down the tireless German’s defence.