It’s a battle of second seed against tenth seed tonight as the mammoth force called Angelique Kerber takes on Karolina Pliskova at the finals of the US Open in 2016.
To say that Angelique Kerber has been in brilliant form would be an understatement. The German, who has most often had to fight Serena Williams this year, has more than held her own against nearly every opponent she has seen so far.
28-year-old Kerber will now play for the title at the 2016 US Open, in what is her third Grand Slam final of the year. Having beaten Williams at the Australian Open in January, Kerber missed out at the French Open.
The German and her American rival, placed in opposite halves of the women’s singles draw, both made the finals at Wimbledon this year, where Williams successfully defended her title in what was a revenge match for the American legend. For the second year in a row, however, the American missed out on the finals of the Us Open, last year tumbling to Roberta Vinci.
Now, Kerber will take on Karolina Pliskova – who is not a new opponent for the German.
The pair have played each other 7 times before on the professional circuit, with Kerber winning 4 matches – making this a fairly even rivalry.
They have never played each other at the Grand Slam level prior to tomorrow’s final, however, and this may be instrumentally fatal to Pliskova’s chances at Grand Slam victory.
Kerber, courtesy her singularly stellar form this year, is now an experienced Grand Slam campaigner. This will come in handy given the stage of the tournament, which is not reliant on skill alone but the ability to hold one’s nerve – as evinced in the case of Andy Murray’s quarter-final loss to Kei Nishikori.
The German also won the women’s singles silver at the Olympic games this year, losing out to Puerto Rican sensation Monica Puig.
It seems intuitive that Kerber, given the circumstances, could win this, but Pliskova is a wily opponent. The two last met at the finals of the Cincinnati Masters prior to the US Open – and this time, it was Pliskova who not only won, but did so in straight sets. That had also been the 24-year-old Pliskova’s first ever WTA Premier title.
Given Kerber’s momentum, it is more than likely that the German will take victory at the US Open.
The German was only truly taxed in one match, her quarter-final against Spanish ace Carla Suarez-Navarro. Pliskova, who for the first time has progressed beyond the third round at the US Open, had immense control in her semi-final against Serena Williams, but it is unlikely she will be able to hold her own against the firepower of Angelique Kerber.
Kerber was significantly ahead on WTA ranking points coming into the US Open, and following Serena Williams’ semi-final crash-out, took control of the World No. 1 ranking, giving women’s tennis its first new no. 1 in 186 weeks.
This should be a fair fight between the pair, however, so one need not expect a straight sets rout by Kerber, who should have to reach deep for her title after we saw Pliskova put up a spirited battle against the mammoth serves of Serena Williams.
Prediction: Angelique Kerber to win in three sets