Reaching top of the world seemed to agree with Angelique Kerber, who celebrated her ascension to world number one with a 6-4 6-3 win over Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday to advance to the U.S. Open final.
The German left-hander was assured of becoming number one when the new rankings come out on Monday after top-seeded American Serena Williams was defeated by Czech 10th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6(5) in the earlier semi-final.
Australian Open champion Kerber, who leads the WTA for most main draw match wins this season at 53-14, clinched victory with a backhand that actually landed just beyond the baseline but went unchallenged by former number one Wozniacki of Denmark. (-Reuters)
Signing off for today! Mouth-watering men’s singles semis lined up for Day 11. We will have all the updates, scores and social buzz ready for you when action begins!
Steffi Graf is the only German player, before Kerber, to have achieved no.1 ranking
Kerber with the break! And new world no.1 has now entered her third Grand Slam final of 2016. She beats Wozniacki in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, and will meet Pliskova in the title clash
Wozniacki with the break! She’s up for a fight. Needs a hold to make the second interesting, very interesting
Wozniacki stays alive with a hold! Kerber, now on serve, has a chance to close the semi-final
Another hold! Kerber, 5-1 up, will eye another break to seal her place in the final
Second service break and Kerber is now 4-1 ahead of Wozniacki. Two games away from another GS final
From 0-30, Kerber fights back to pocket the serving game. It’s 3-1 in her favour now
Kerber pushes Wozniacki back with a deep backhand then makes room and fires the cross-court forehand. Wozniacki’s return finds the net and Kerber is in the lead, on serve
After dropping serve early in the second set, Wozniacki gets on the board and makes it 1-2 against Kerber
Wozniacki needs to cut down on unforced errors if she wants to force the match into the deciding third set. Kerber has been producing brilliant winners, but Wozniacki’s errors also helping her cause
Kerber consolidates the early break with a hold and she leads Wozniacki 2-0 in second set
Meanwhile Patrick Moratoglu (Serena’s coach) says: “Serena was injured, left knee pain. We hoped it would be ok, clearly it wasn’t. Can’t win a match if you can’t move”
Wozniacki sends her backhand wide and Kerber takes the first set 6-4
Wozniacki sends the backhand return long and two set points for Kerber at 40-15
Wozniacki holds after saving two set points. Kerber will serve for the set at 5-4
Backhand winner by the Dane to save another set point. Back to deuce
Second set point for Kerber
From 4-1 up at one stage, Kerber has her lead reduced. But still has a break in hand as Wozniacki serves at 3-5.
Up next: Angelique Kerber against Caroline Wozniacki to determine who faces Karolina Pliskova in Saturday’s final
After 186 weeks at the top of the charts – tied for longest in WTA history – Serena gives up throne to Kerber
Serena Williams also loses her Number 1 ranking in the process. Angelique Kerber to be the new No 1 when rankings come out on Monday
DOUBLE FAULT! Karolina Pliskova beats Serena Williams 6-2, 7-6 to reach the Final
Big return by Serena and Pliskova handles it back to go on and make it 6-5. MATCH POINT
Serena’s forehand is just wide and it is 5-5
After some defensive shots, Serena goes all guns blazing with a backhand winner down the line. 5-4
DOUBLE FAULT! Serena brings parity into the tiebreak with a poor serve. 4-4
UNBELIEVABLE! Serena with an incredible get to send Pliskova back and then puts away a short ball for the winner. 4-3
Pliskova with a double fault at the worst time to hand Serena the minibreak back. 3-3 at change of ends
Pliskova sends the forehand wide after a long rally. Still up 3-2
In the hitting zone for Pliskova on the forehand but she hits the net. Serena on the board and it is 1-3
Bad miss by Serena! Pliskova is 3-0 up
Great, big serve by Pliskova and a forced error by Serena. 2-0
And Pliskova starts with a mini-break. 1-0
Pliskova finally shows some emotions. Big ‘C’mon’ from her after an ace to force tiebreaker
Serena tries to pounce on the Pliskova serve but can’t create enough room to hit it for a winner. 40-30
Pliskova’s forehand sails long and it is 30-30 now. Vital point now
Decisive game this. Pliskova with two good serves to make it 30-15
Serena with a calm hold and pressure back on Pliskova to force a tiebreak in the second
Pliskova levels things at 5-5 and gets a code violation warning for coaching as well
After a while, a comfortable hold for Serena. She is up 5-4 in the second set
Even with double fault count rising (to 6 now), Pliskova holds serve to make it 4-4
Serena digs herself out of a hole to hold serve from 0-30 and break point down. 4-3
Saved! Pliskova’s forehand is into the tramlines and it is back to deuce
Serena can’t capitalise on a smash and then a drive volley putaway. Pliskova comes into the point and has a break opportunity – once again
BREAK BACK! Pliskova sends forehand way wide and Serena comes roaring back to make it 3-3
Serena with the first break opportunity – or three.
Hingis, Henin and Clijsters – the last three ladies to have beaten Venus and Serena in the same Major. Pliskova next?
Pliskova with a beautiful forehand on the run to force Serena into an error. BREAK! 3-2
Wayward forehand by Serena brings up break point for Pliskova. 30-40
Pliskova with an ace to hold serve. 2-2. But the Czech’s first serve % has dropped this set
Serena with strong serving and mixing things up to hold. 2-1 in the second set
Pliskova holds her serve. 1-1 now in the second set
Serena with a big, big hold! Saves a break point and getting more winners off her racket. 1-0
Expectedly Pliskova closes out the first set with a big serve which Serena sends long. 6-2
Serena’s forehand hits the top of the tape and Pliskova gets second break. Up 5-2
Serena’s backhand is into the net and Pliskova has three break point chances
Huge second serve by Pliskova to starve off any chances that Serena could have had. Up 4-2
Two double faults by Pliskova and it is deuce. Nerves finally?
Serena with an ace down the tee to hold serve from a break point down. Still 2-3 down
Let chord comes to Pliskova’s aid. Steps up and then puts away the volley to bring up a break point. Saved with the big serve
Signs so far of little foot movement from Serena on the serve – something she needs to change or improve to get back in this
Serena’s backhand return on the serve goes long and Pliskova holds. 3-1
Pliskova with really deep shots and it forces Serena’s backhand to go long. Break! 2-1
Really deep return by Pliskova and Serena’s forehand is into the net. Break point for the Czech at 30-40
Pliskova holds comfortably too. 1-1 in the opening set
Four straight points for Serena and is up on the board. 1-0
Serena Williams to serve first
Walking towards a possible No. 23…
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2016
Unless she has something to say for it
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2016
Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova are on court warming up
Carreno Busta/Garcia Lopez have won the first set 6-3 against fellow Spaniards Feliciano/Marc Lopez
Women’s doubles SF
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova def. Ekaternia Makarova/Elena Vesnina 6-2, 7-6
Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic def. Martina Hingis/CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-4
Men’s doubles SF
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares def. Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Serena Williams will be wary of another semi-final slip-up when she takes to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Thursday to face 10th seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the U.S. Open final.
A year ago Williams arrived at the semi-finals on the cusp of a rare calendar slam when unseeded Italian Roberta Vinci, a 300-to-1 long shot to reach the final, recorded one of the biggest upsets in grand slam tennis.
It has appeared lesson learned for the world number one, who has been all business at Flushing Meadows, playing with unusual intensity and focus as she zeroes in on what would be a record seventh U.S. Open title in the professional era.
Standing in the way of Williams’s ninth trip to the final is big-hitting Pliskova who has led the WTA Tour in aces the last two seasons and is one of the few players capable of going toe-to-toe with the muscular American.
“There will be a lot of aces in that match I think,” said Williams, who laid down 18 aces in her quarter-final win over Simona Halep.
“I haven’t played against many big servers recently but she places her serve really well.
“She definitely gets some speed on it but her placement is really, really nice.”
There is no calendar slam up for grabs this year but history continues to beckon Williams, who would stand alone as the greatest grand slam champion in the Open Era if she can claim a 23rd title.
That would move her past Steffi Graf and leave her one shy of Margaret Court at the top of the all-time list.
While Williams will compete in her 33rd grand slam semi-final, the match is further uncharted territory for Pliskova, who arrived as the only top-20 player to have not reached the fourth round at one of the four blue riband events.
The other semi-final is an equally attractive matchup pitting unseeded former world number one Caroline Wozniacki against second seed Angelique Kerber, who could leave New York with her second grand slam title and snatch Williams’ number one ranking.
Australian Open champion Kerber holds a 7-5 lead in head-to-head meetings against the Dane, with their last two hardcourt encounters split.
The 26-year-old Wozniacki, meanwhile, is still chasing an elusive maiden grand slam title but has come close at Flushing Meadows, reaching the semi-finals on five occasions and the finals twice in 2009 and 2014.