Serena Williams out of US Open and loses number one spot
Karolina Pliskova shattered Serena Williams's bid for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title and in doing so handed the top place to other finalist Angelique Kerber.
Karolina Pliskova shattered Serena Williams's bid for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title Thursday, her 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) win setting-up a US Open final against new world number one Angelique Kerber.
The streak ends
The win for Czech 10th seed Pliskova meant the 34-year-old American was deposed as the world's top player, losing her chance to stay at the peak for a record 187 weeks.
In Saturday's championship match, Pliskova will tackle second seed Kerber who marked her coronation as the new world number one with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over two-time runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.
It will be Pliskova's first appearance in a Grand Slam final while Australian Open champion Kerber will be in her third of the year having finished runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon.
Injury affected mind
Williams, who also lost in the semi-finals last year which ended her bid to claim a rare calendar Slam, said she had been suffering from a knee injury in the run-up to the semi-final.
"When you're hampered you're thinking of other things," said the American, a six-time US Open champion. "Like I was making errors that I never make, and definitely I didn't make in this tournament in particular."
"So many simple, simple shots that I easily could have made. I just blame that on just mentally thinking about my leg and just not thinking about the shot."
A Czech double on the Williams sisters
Pliskova, the first Czech woman in the US Open final since Helena Sukova in 1993, said she had not noticed that her opponent was carrying an injury. The 24-year-old preferred to focus on finally making a Slam championship match after never making it past the third round of a major in 17 prior attempts.
"I knew I had the chance to beat anyone if I played my game. I am excited to be in the final and to beat Serena as she is such a great champion," said the 6pht 1in (1.86m) Czech who had also beaten Venus Williams in the fourth round. "Even when she was down a set and break she was still fighting. I had to fight hard to win."
Despite the injury, Williams admitted Pliskova earned her victory.
"Karolina played great today. I think if she had played any less then maybe I would have had a chance," said Williams.
New number one
Kerber, the 28-year-old left-hander, is the first German woman to reach the final since Steffi Graf in 1996. Graf is also the only other German woman to achieve the top ranking.
"It's incredible to be in the final and to be the world number one, it's a great day," said Kerber, who has made the final without dropping a set. To be the number one in the world, that was always a dream for me. I was trying not to think about it too much the last few weeks."
The German leads Pliskova 4-3 in their head to heads, but the Czech won their most recent meeting in the Cincinnati final last month.
- United States of America
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