Three Grand Slams Finals…Two wins…An Olympic Silver Medal and world number one ranking…Well it will not be an exaggeration to term the year 2016 as a “Kerber Year” in the world of tennis. What a spectacular season the German has had… Angleique Kerber won the last major of the year US OPEN after beating a resilient Czech player Karoline Plikosva in three sets 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 hours and 8 minutes. With this win, Kerber also became the first German in 20 years after Steffi Graf (1996) to win the US OPEN.
Under severe humid conditions at the centre court, both the players played a tight and intense match much to the delight of a vociferous crowd. It all began with Kerber playing an aggressive tennis in the first set. She broke Pliskova’s serve in the first set and did not face much challenge thereafter either. German won the first set 6-3. Plikosvoa, playing her first Major final, used her power weapon- her big first Serve, picked up the pace and upped the ante in the second. It was a tense third set in which both showed their netal toughness and refused to surrender. Kerber battled back from a 1-3 deficit to break Pliskova’s serve the final game and fall to the ground in triumph. It took Kerber 12 years to make an impact on the tour and now that she has done it; it’s no looking back for her. The last time Kerber reached a semifinal of any major was in 2011and it was not until 2012 that she managed to win her first WTA title. But she never gave up.
She always thrived on her childhood dream of being a Grand Slam Champion and World Number one. So, she Practiced harder, increased her physical fitness to play longer on the court and slowly but steadily began to show what truly she is capable of. (Her quick movements in the decider set gave a clear edge over Pliksova who was visibly tired and fatigued.)
We all know the 28 year old does not have a particularly powerful serve or forehand. But her speed on the court is to die for. You hit a ball wherever you want; she will be present there to return it. She hardly missed any returns throughout the tournament and has one of the best two- handed Backhands in the circuit. Speed, steadiness and patience have been key factors to Kerber’s recent success. She waits for a loose ball from her opponent and returns it with precision and accuracy. The third set of the final was a clear example of that. Age is no bar for Angelique Kerber as at 28, she is the oldest world number one women tennis player and dethroned Serena Williams from her Numero Uno position, ending her remarkable streak of 186 weeks at the top. She has also proved that now she is the one to beat in women’s tennis. She is certainly not stopping here and her prime has just begun and we hope it continues. The win of Angelique Kerber and the emergence of players like Karoline Pliksova, Simona Halep and Muguruza Garbine clearly show the Renaissance of tennis.