Angelique Kerber put an exclamation point on her rise to the world #1 ranking with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over Karolina Pliskova to win the 2016 US Open. The 28-year old German star adds to a career best year with her second Major title, following her Australian Open win at the beginning of the season. The title at the US Open earns Kerber the first place prize of $3.5 million USD. In addition to Angie’s breakthrough in Melbourne and her rise to #1 in Flushing Meadow, she added a Silver Medal at the Olympics along with runners-up at Wimbledon, Brisbane and Cincinnati. It all adds up to Kerber joining her idol, Steffi Graf, as a world #1 from Germany. Angie is also the first German to win the US Open since Steffi Graf’s 1996 crown. She also joins Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles as the only left-handers to top the WTA singles rankings.
Karolina Pliskova gave a great effort, pushing the championship match to 3 sets after dropping the opening set. But in the end, the steady, relentless defense from Angie just would not crumble on this day. It was probably a mistake for Pliskova to choose to serve first after winning the coin toss. It was a very nervous first game in her maiden Major final. The rising Czech star also missed some easy putaways. However, maybe that’s because playing a master of defense like Angie, who gets shot after shot after shot back, makes opponents rush their strokes. The bottom line is that there was no doubt who the best player on the court was on this day. On Monday, when the WTA rankings are updated, there will be no doubt who the new Queen of Tennis is…at least for now. We’ll see how Serena Williams responds to losing her #1 ranking. We’ll soon find out if Maria Sharapova comes back in January of 2017 or has to sit out longer. What form will Victoria Azarenka be in when she returns from giving birth? Don’t forget that Vika beat Angie in the final at Brisbane and Serena in the final of Indian Wells…not to mention winning the Indian Wells/Miami double. I take nothing away from Kerber, but a healthy Sharapova and Azarenka does shift the balance of power in the women’s game. That’s something to ponder for next year. There is no more dispute about who the best player of 2016 is. Even if she doesn’t win another match the rest of the year, that title goes to Angelique Kerber.
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2 ANGELIQUE KERBER d. 10 Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 4-6 6-4