Angelique Kerber did not disappoint in her first match as the new world No. 1, defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to win the US Open.
Facing off against Pliskova, who had defeated top-seeded Serena Williams in the semifinals, Kerber executed her game plan to perfection. She showed off her superior return game, drew her heavy-hitting opponent into long rallies, and did not give Pliskova any mistakes to pounce on.
Kerber jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, and held on despite a tenacious challenger. Though Kerber struggled to get her serves in play, she staved off three break points in the opening set and committed just three unforced errors to win 6-3.
But as the match grew on, Pliskova gained the confidence to go after Kerber’s serve. She won 13 of 14 points at the net, while winning 89 percent of points on her first serve to send things to a decider.
Pliskova broke early in the third set and looked to have captured the momentum, but Kerber held strong. She broke back to tie it at 3-3, and used her experience to carry her over the finish line.
Saturday was Kerber’s third final appearance and second title of the year. She captured her first Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open in January and finished runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon.