Kerber wins 1st US Open title by beating Pliskova in final

She won the Australian Open in January, before losing at SW19 to defending champion Serena Williams in July. Pliskova came into her first major semifinal having won her last 10 matches and was in ruthless form on serve against Serena, striking seven aces and winning 84 percent of first serve points.

Karolina Pliskova has a rare opportunity: the ability to unseat two world No. 1 players in the same tournament.

"For me, it's just wonderful to be after Steffi the next No 1 player in Germany", added Kerber, who at 28 will become the oldest player to become No 1.

After the game, Serena fielded questions on why she made so many mistakes and played sluggishly. "But I think that's also her strength".

Kerber will now play in her third grand slam final of the season on Saturday when she faces Karolina Pliskova, who upset Serena Williams in the day's other semi-final.

Second seed Kerber fell onto her back when a wilting Pliskova hit a forehand into the net to end two hours and seven minutes of compelling high-quality tennis.

The temperature was in the low 80s, and the air was muggy and still, and Williams kept using the pleats of her black-and-pink skirt to wipe her sweaty palms between points. "I wasn't exhausted from yesterday's match", said Williams.

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The 10th-seeded Czech moves into the final at Flushing Meadows to meet Germany's Angelique Kerber, who will replace Williams as the world's top-ranker player on Monday no matter what the result.

Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, right, greets Serena Williams after winning their semifinal match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in NY. I was trying to play and focus on this match because Caroline is a great player, always tough to play against.

"When you're injured, you're thinking of other things when you should be just playing and thinking of your shots".

Williams's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, placed the blame for the defeat squarely on a knee injury Williams suffered during her quarterfinal battle with Simona Halep.

"To be honest, I don't remember that", Williams said of the early miscues.

After a break apiece, the set went to a tie-break and it was Pliskova who prevailed after Williams double-faulted on match point. An opponent playing her best in the biggest match of her career?

In the second-set tiebreaker, Pliskova led 3-0.

  • Lawrence Cooper