New York, Sep 11 (IANS) Germany's Angelique Kerber won the US Open women's singles tennis final beating the Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a hard-fought and exciting match here.
Kerber, 28, won in New York on Saturday evening to claim her second Grand Slam title win after her triumph at the Australian Open in January. She had also finished second to Serena Williams at Wimbledon, reports Efe.
"It's just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam of the year and it's the best year of my career," Kerber said after the match.
"For me everything started here in 2011," she added, referring to when she made the semi-finals ranked No.92. "And now here, five years later I'm standing here with the trophy. All the dreams came true this year."
It was a well-played match all the way through, with both players displaying power and coordination, but Kerber made no serious mistakes and won more second-serve points than the No. 10 seeded Czech, who is deemed one of the tennis world's best servers.
Although Pliskova crushed Kerber 6-3, 6-1 three weeks ago at their contest in Cincinnati and had knocked out the top-seeded Serena in the semi-finals, along with her sister Venus in the fourth round, Kerber came back with a vengeance on Saturday, moving her off her game in the first set.
Kerber had some early trouble getting her serves to hit properly, and she managed to avoid having her serve broken three times, committing just three unforced errors and taking the set 6-3.
In the second set, Pliskova steadily fought back, winning 13 out of 14 points at the net, and almost 90 percent of points on her first serve to win the set and kick the US Open women's final into a tie-breaker for the first time in 16 years.
The 24-year-old Czech broke Kerber's service early in the third set, but the German managed to return the favour, breaking Pliskova to tie it up at 3-3 and then push on through for the win down the stretch.
With over two hours played, Pliskova ran out of steam towards the end, hitting three unforced errors and being broken to love as Kerber collapsed to the ground as the US Open champion.
With the win, Kerber takes home $3.5 million in prize money, while Pliskova bagged $1.75 million.
Kerber had advanced to her maiden US Open final shortly after becoming the world's top-ranked player for the first time, defeating Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 on Friday in a semi-final battle of two of the best retrievers and movers on the WTA Tour.
Kerber divested Serena of the world No.1 ranking when Pliskova upset the American 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in Thursday evening's first semi-final.
Moreover, with the victory in the final, Kerber becomes the first German since Steffi Graf in 1996 to win the US Open title.
"This what's happened in the last two weeks, it's just incredible. Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the No. 1 number, actually. This was what I was trying to improving with the pressure," Kerber said afterwards.
"And also, today, I mean, it's always tough to going in the final when I know the opponent beats me like two or three weeks ago. That was also a challenge what I told myself, Okay, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina."
For Pliskova, who will rise to No.6 in the rankings after the loss, there's no sadness or regrets after competing in such a high-quality, closely contested major final, the first of her career.
"I think I did a great job," she said in her post-match press conference. "It was my first final. Still was close to winning. I mean, she has more experience to play those finals than me so probably decided in this match," she added.
"I'm so proud of myself. If someone would tell me I'm going to play final in this tournament (two weeks ago) I would take it. No sadness."