New York - Karolina Pliskova shattered Serena Williams's bid
for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title on Thursday, her 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) win
setting-up a US Open final against new world number one Angelique Kerber.
The win for Czech 10th seed Pliskova meant the 34-year-old
American was deposed as the world's top player, losing her chance to stay at
the peak for a record 187 weeks.
In Saturday's championship match, Pliskova will tackle
second seed Kerber who marked her coronation as the new world number one with a
6-4, 6-3 victory over two-time runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.
It will be Pliskova's first appearance in a Grand Slam final
while Australian Open champion Kerber will be in her third of the year having
finished runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon.
Williams, who also lost in the semi-finals last year which
ended her bid to claim a rare calendar Slam, said she had been suffering from a
knee injury in the run-up to the semi-final.
"When you're hampered you're thinking of other
things," said the American, a six-time US Open champion.
"Like I was making errors that I never make, and
definitely I didn't make in this tournament in particular.
"So many simple, simple shots that I easily could have
made. I just blame that on just mentally thinking about my leg and just not
thinking about the shot."
Pliskova, the first Czech woman in the US Open final since
Helena Sukova in 1993, said she had not noticed that her opponent was carrying
The 24-year-old preferred to focus on finally making a Slam
championship match after never making it past the third round of a major in 17
"I knew I had the chance to beat anyone if I played my
game. I am excited to be in the final and to beat Serena as she is such a great
champion," said the 6pht 1in (1.86m) Czech who had also beaten Venus
Williams in the fourth round.
"Even when she was down a set and break she was still
fighting. I had to fight hard to win."
Despite the injury, Williams admitted Pliskova earned her
"Karolina played great today. I think if she had played
any less then maybe I would have had a chance," said Williams.
Kerber, the 28-year-old left-hander, is the first German
woman to reach the final since Steffi Graf in 1996. Graf is also the only other
German woman to achieve the top ranking.
"It's incredible to be in the final and to be the world
number one, it's a great day," said Kerber, who has made the final without
dropping a set.
"To be the number one in the world, that was always a
dream for me. I was trying not to think about it too much the last few
The German leads Pliskova 4-3 in their head to heads, but
the Czech won their most recent meeting in the Cincinnati final last month.
Wozniacki, down at 74 in the world after missing almost
three months of the season with an ankle injury, had refused on the eve of her
fifth semi-final in New York to dampen speculation that she was on the brink of
announcing her retirement.
But she certainly appeared to have her mind elsewhere
throughout the match.
"I'm a little disappointed not to win today, but at the
end of the day it's been a good tournament, something I can be proud of,"
said the Danish player.
"I came into this tournament ranked 74 in the world and
probably people ruled me out, but it's nice to prove people wrong once
At least she has the consolation of knowing her surprise run
to a fifth semi-final in the city where she keeps a second home will translate
to a place back in the world top 30.
Results from the 11th day of the 2016 US Open tennis championships at Flushing Meadows on Thursday (x denotes seeded player):
Karolina Pliskova (CZE x10) bt Serena Williams (USA x1) 6-2, 7-6 (7/5)
Angelique Kerber (GER x2) bt Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 6-4, 6-3
Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova (USA/CZE x12) bt Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina (RUS x5) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)
Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA x1) bt Martina Hingis/Coco Vandeweghe (SUI/USA x6) 6-3, 6-4
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares (GBR/BRA x4) bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA x1) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Pablo Carreno Busta/Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) bt Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez (ESP x8) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)