New world number one Angelique Kerber won her second Grand Slam title of the year after beating Karolina Pliskova in an enthralling US Open final.
Kerber, who won the Australian Open title back in January, was pushed the distance by her Czech opponent, who had knocked out Serena Williams in Thursday’s semi-final.
Pliskova’s punishing groundstrokes and powerful serve caused Kerber all kinds of problems on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, however the resilient German finally came through - recording a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory in two hours and seven minutes.
Kerber, 28, was already guaranteed the number one spot in the rankings for the first time in her career, following Williams defeat in the previous round.
However, after recent defeats in the finals of Wimbledon and the Olympics, she was more determined than ever not to be denied at the last hurdle once again.
Kerber following role model Graf
Her triumph means that she is the first German player to win in New York since Steffi Graf back in 1996.
Graf has been a role model for Kerber throughout her tennis career and the pair have since become good friends.
“I used to watch a lot of her matches and I remember that all the matches were very fast. This is what I remember,” said Kerber after the match
“I heard from her yesterday (Friday) or like two days ago. She was wishing me luck for the final. But she was always my idol and I told her that so many times. She's a great champion as well,” she added.
Kerber had lost to Pliskova in the final in Cincinnati last month when a victory would have seen her reach the number one ranking.
That was Pliskova’s 11th victory in a row, but the 24-year-old had never reached the fourth round of a major before this event.
Pliskova shows signs of nerves early on
In the early stages that showed as the Czech made a nervy start, losing her serve in the opening game.
Kerber drew on her experience to play an unerring set, in which she only made three unforced errors.
The German broke serve again at 5-3 with an impressive forehand on the run.
Pliskova stuck to her game plan and continued to be aggressive with her piercing groundstrokes. The Czech also found success at the net where she demonstrated some skilful touch.
Czech fights back before Kerber prevails
The 10th seed broke Kerber for the first time to lead 4-3 and went on to level the match with an emphatic service game moments later.
Pliskova carried her momentum into the decider, going up an early break, however Kerber dug in to level the match at 3-3.
In her trademark fashion, the German continuously forced her opponent to play one more shot and once again the errors began outweigh the winners.
With Pliskova serving at 4-5, Kerber made the decisive move, breaking to 0 when the Czech sprayed a forehand into the tramlines.
It has been a great fortnight for both, but with two major titles Kerber is unquestionably the number one right now.