10th seeded Karolina Pliskova’s shocking 6-2, 7-6(5) defeat of Serena Williams in the semi-finals of the 2016 US Open made it a landmark day for women’s tennis with major repercussions all around. What many would have expected to be just another routine win for the 22-time Grand Slam turned into an event that meant different things for at least three players – Pliskova, Williams and Angelique Kerber.
For the Czech’s win sealed the World No. 1 ranking for the Australian Open champion, who thus ended Serena’s latest reign at the top which began on February 18, 2013. Here are a few important records, statistics and information that emerged from the stunner.
What the upset meant for Karolina Pliskova herself:
1. Having defeated Venus Williams in a thrilling fourth-round showdown, Pliskova’s upset of the six-time US Open champion makes her just the fourth woman to beat both the Williams sisters in the same Slam. The other three are Martina Hingis (2001 Australian Open), Justine Henin (2007 US Open) and Kim Clijsters (2009 US Open).
2. The 24-year-old became the first Czech woman to make it through to the US Open final since Helena Sukova in 1993.
3. Prior to the 2016 US Open, she had never advanced past the third round at any Major in 17 attempts but this time, she has won at least 6 matches at a Major for the first time in her career.
4. She came riding high on confidence after a title-winning run at Cincinnati. And thanks to that, Pliskova is now on an 11-match winning streak.
What the upset meant for Serena Williams:
1. Serena Williams remained tied with the legendary Steffi Graf at an Open Era record 186 consecutive weeks of being the world’s No. 1 player – a record that will surely stand the test of time.
2. Serena’s wait to break away from another tie with Graf also gets extended. The American now has to wait for a minimum of four months before she gets a chance to bid for her 23rd Grand Slam crown at next year’s Australian Open.
3. The 22-time Grand Slam champion failed to reach a Slam final for the first time this year after winning Wimbledon and finishing as runner-up at the Australian Open and the French Open. That also means that her former rival and seven-time Major winner Justine Henin still remains the last women’s singles player to reach all the four Major finals in a calendar year. The Belgian did it in 2006.
4. Believe it or not, after having won six times each at Melbourne Park and at Flushing Meadows, the tennis icon has never ever reached the finals of both the hardcourt Majors in the same year!
What the upset meant for Angelique Kerber:
1. Angelique Kerber became the 22nd different player to climb to the pinnacle in women’s singles tennis.
2. She emulated her idol Steffi Graf by becoming just the second German woman ever to reign on top since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. Graf’s last stint of her incredible 377 weeks at the top spot was in March, 1997.
3. The German, who turned 28 in January, also went on to be the oldest player to debut at No. 1, surpassing Jennifer Capriati, who debuted at the age of 25 in 2001.
4. The southpaw thus follows in the footsteps of Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles as the third lefty to grab the top ranking. The last time Seles was ranked No. 1 was back in 1996.