US OPEN

Kerber plotting Pliskova payback time in US Open final

Newly-crowned world number one Angelique Kerber will be out for revenge on Saturday when she takes on first-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova in the US Open final.

Kerber plotting Pliskova payback time in US Open final
Mike Hewitt AFP

Newly-crowned world number one Angelique Kerber will be out for revenge on Saturday when she takes on first-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova in the US Open final.

Pliskova's triumph over Serena Williams in a semi-final shocker propelled Kerber to the number one ranking. But that doesn't mean Germany's Kerber has forgotten Pliskova's upset win over her last month in the final at Cincinnati - denying Kerber's first attempt to nudge Williams from the top of the rankings.

“For sure she has a lot of confidence”, Kerber said with reference to the 10th-seeded Czech, who had never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam in 17 previous attempts. “Now especially with the win against Serena. I know it will be mentally for me also very tough because she knows that she won against me a few weeks ago. But at the end I know how I was playing in Cincinnati. I know what to change”.

Key to success will be a sharp serve and an aggressive attack, unlike in Cincinnati where she was “just pushing the balls”.

She added, “I will go out there trying to get my next chance against her and take the revenge”..

Kerber, who finished 2015 ranked 10th in the world, is into her third Grand Slam final of the season after fashioning an upset win over Williams at the Australian Open in January and falling to the American in the title match at Wimbledon. She's just the fifth player to reach her first three Grand Slam finals in one year. The last to do it was Martina Hingis in 1997.

Pliskova is still riding the wave of momentum her Cincinnati triumph over Kerber sparked. She may be in unfamiliar ground in the second week of a Grand Slam, but in Kerber she'll face a well-known foe. Kerber holds only a slight edge in their head-to-head record, with four victories in their seven matches.

“We played a lot of times. I lost to her, I won. So I will be ready for anything. That's a final of a Grand Slam, so anything is possible”, Pliskova said.

Pliskova, just the fourth player to beat both Serena and Venus Williams in the same Slam, will rely on her formidable serve. She leads the WTA tour in aces this year. While she knows she'll feel the nerves of her first major final, Pliskova has already weathered the hostile crowds on Arthur Ashe stadium in her victories over the Williams sisters and says she's ready for anything.

“Of course, probably (there are) nerves from both sides. We both have a good chance to win. But I will just do anything to win the title here”, she explained.