With all the talk of nerves verses relaxation – it was the nerviest of starts for Pliskova with a double fault, a terribly edgy missed volley and then a string breaking to be broken in the first game. However it did not take Pliskova long to settle her nerves – getting on the board with love hold before the first sit-down.
The Czech was starting to warm up nicely, dictating more and more on her serve, and pinning Kerber to the baseline. To her credit though, Kerber was keeping her body language good and neutral – she is known for a theatrical slapping of the thigh and was opting for more patience to draw out the errors from Pliskova. She could afford to – her strength of movement kept her in rallies long after other points would have given up the ghost as she saved break points.
In fact the obvious signs of Pliskova’s movement were all there – she was hanging in with the longer rallies and even at times coming out as the winner. Her volleys though at times were horrifying. Never mind – she made up for them more than once with her devastating serve and forehand combo to show she could boss the quick points too.
Kerber even tried to be too cute, cutting and slicing at a deep ball as if it was an errant carrot, only for Pliskova to track it down and hammer home the winner. But twice Kerber was able to come in on a short ball and burn Pliskova down the line as she broke for the first set.
The second set was vital for Pliskova not to drop her head, and she plugged away at it to get her reward of a break finally, not to mention for the appreciative crowd who wanted to see a good match. For once Kerber seemed to be overthinking her shots, especially in the second set, hesitating for strokes that she would usually hammer home for an unrelenting winner.
Pliskova tightened up while ahead – and it was all Kerber needed to claw her way back into the match, breaking and then holding.
It is clear to see why this is so special – five years ago, after a torrid year, it all happened for her with a run to her first Grand Slam semi-final. From that point she was a near permanent fixture in the Top 10 and now on Monday will be new No. 1.
As reported by WTATennis.com, Kerber said in her on-court interview:
“It’s just amazing. I won my second Grand Slam of the year and it’s the best year of my career.
“For me everything started here in 2011. And now here, five years later I’m standing here with the trophy. All the dreams came true this year.”
With Williams unwilling to be drawn as to whether she will start her Asian swing in Wuhan as scheduled, the way is clear for the age of Kerber at the top of the rankings – for now, and with Pliskova now proving why she will be a fixture in many more finals to come, and with Garbiñe Muguruza also a Slam winner this year, and Simona Halep coming up on the rails – is a new era beckoning?
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