If there has ever been a nip-and-tuck head to head this is it! Two wins here, two wins there, and now the cycle has rolled around to Pliskova, with her Premier title in Cincinnati, so if they stay true to form, it could be her night in New York.
With the Pliskova-induced absence of either Williams’ sister, the crowd will want a good match, and in Cincinnati, Pliskova took advantage of perhaps a weary and nervy Kerber.
The pair have met the last three times in finals so we can expect those kinds of nerves to have long gone by now but this year has been a different prospect – The World No. 1 spot was in play in Cincinnati – it is not anymore. And Kerber has made three Slams in one year. She will feel she more than belongs here while Pliskova has already perhaps committed the cardinal sin of admitting she is just happy to have got this far.
Ok that is maybe a little unfair as this has been a big year for both of them, but at times like this it can all come down to the experience. Kerber knows what it is like to beat the best to win the ultimate prize, and we can argue that Pliskova knows that too.
The German must come in with just a little edge.
Year to Date W/L Record
All surfaces W/L
It has been a solid year for Kerber, with good results at the start of the year, including the finals of her last three tournaments – that kind of consistency is something that is hard to battle against. Pliskova of course is coming in on the back of an 11-match winning streak, and so we have confidence versus consistency for the final Slam silverware of the year.
Kerber suffered a little slump after winning in Melbourne as Pliskova started the hard court spring a little more brightly with a run to the Indian Wells semi-final. Better performances including Rio and Montreal help put Kerber ahead on hard court wins, but more than that – the German has the most main draw match wins this year, and also on a hard court.
Match Stats 2016
Tie-Breaks (hard court)
Deciding sets (hard court)
With Pliskova’s serving strength it is perhaps a little surprising that she comes off worst in this head to head. Kerber’s one sin is sometimes not making enough use of her lefty serve, instead treating it just as a mechanism to start a point. She has improved her aggression of late, and will need to be firing on all cylinders if this goes close.
Kerber has been on the winning end of some real battles this year and her gritty determination to run anything down and be prepared to stay out there to the bitter end puts her ahead in terms of getting the upper hand although we do have to wonder whether more aggression would see her sail through more tournaments, much as she has done here.
As you might expect Pliskova is head and shoulders above Kerber in the serve (and indeed double fault) department and has edged her on first serve points percentage, but Kerber takes the lead on her receiving points percentage and seems to be a little more resilient on her break point conversion.
This has all the makings of one of their tougher battles – and in a way it deserves to be. Kerber has a lot of confidence, as does Pliskova but the experience might be the element that tells in the end.
The US Open Women’s Singles Final will take place on 10 September at 4pm (9pm BST).
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