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US OPEN

“It’s incredible” says Kerber after clinching US Open title

Angelique Kerber added the US Open title to her collection on Saturday, beating Karolina Pliskova to crown a memorable year.

“It’s incredible” says Kerber after clinching US Open title
Alex Goodlett AFP

Kerber crowns famous year

Angelique Kerber marked her rise to become the world No.1 with a hard-fought win over Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, to add a second Grand Slam crown in a memorable year.

“Being there as champion, this year, to hold this trophy, I can't say it in words”, Kerber said after her 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over the 10th-seeded Czech. “It’s amazing to win a second Grand Slam in one year; it's the best year of my career. It all started for me here in New York five years ago when I reached the semi-finals and now I am here with the trophy. It's incredible”.

Kerber finished 2015 ranked 10th in the world but after beating Serena Williams in the final in Melbourne and losing to her in this year’s Wimbledon final, she will officially rise to world number one on Monday. But she was already guaranteed of top spot when Pliskova saw off Williams in the semi-finals.

“To be number one and win Grand Slam titles was always my dream ever since I was a little girl; it means so much”, Kerber said.

Pliskova was the first player to take a set off Kerber at Flushing Meadows. Her powerful groundstrokes had Kerber on the back foot at times but in the end, 47 unforced errors were too much to overcome despite her 40 winners.

Kerber took advantage of Pliskova's miscues to open the match with a break. The quick advantage gave Kerber plenty of breathing room. She was able to maintain it with authoritative play from the baseline, fending off three break points before cracking Pliskova's serve again when the Czech double-faulted to give her a set point.

Kerber seized her chance with a forehand down the line to pocket the first frame in 44 minutes, having committed just three unforced errors. Having saved the first break point she faced in the second set, but unable to make inroads on Pliskova's serve, Kerber was beginning to look demoralized by the power shots coming her way.

Gaining in confidence, Pliskova grabbed her first break of the match for a 4-3 lead, lofting a lob over the German.

Kerber admitted she was a little negative in the second set. “My body language was not the best and I was trying to change it in the third. It was not so easy because Karolina is a tough opponent and she was up a break early. I was thinking a little bit of the final in Australia when I was also in the third set and I believed in my game. I was just believing in myself in the third set and going for it; I was trying to take the chance”.

Costly mistakes

Pliskova couldn't maintain the advantage. Two errors gave a break back to Kerber in the sixth game. Even after her capitulation in the final game, Pliskova said she had no regrets. “We all know that the last game wasn't great, but it's so hard against her. I went twice to the net and was going really for the shot. It could go the other way; so I would not change it. It didn't happen, but this is the way I have to play”.

Amidst the disappointment she was looking forward to building on her breakthrough Slam performance. “I found out I can play against the best players in the world on the big courts”, she added. “Angie proved she is the number one, it was an honor to play her”.