Angelique Kerber  vs. Karolina Pliskova 
4pm ET on ESPN
Angelique Kerber beat Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday 6-4, 6-3 to advance to her first U.S. Open final, and third Grand Slam final of 2016. Kerber has had a somewhat easy path the to finals, winning all 12 sets she’s played, and facing only two seeded opponents out of six total, and only two ranked in the top 50 worldwide. With Serena Williams falling to Karolina Pliskova on the Thursday, Kerber will rise from world #2 to #1 regardless of the outcome of today’s final, ending Williams’ streak atop the ranking at 186 consecutive weeks, leaving her tied with Steffi Graf for the record.
Karolina Pliskova, 24, came to her fourth U.S. Open having never made it past the 3rd round of a Grand Slam event. But on Thursday she did the impossible, upsetting the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, Serena Williams, 6-2 7-6 (7-5), as Williams double faulted on match point. It was the second Open in a row in which Williams has fallen in the semis. Ironically, Pliskova beat Williams at her own game, an overpowering serve that produced 7 aces and won her 84% of first-serve point. Williams said afterward that she had hurt her knee in the second round against Vania King, but added “I’m not going to sit here and make an excuse.” Which, all due respect, was exactly what she had done.
Kerber and Pliskova have faced each other 7 times, with Kerber coming out on top in 4 of those matches, but Pliskova won their last showdown 6-3 6-1 at the Cincinnati Masters. During her post-victory interview, Pliskova turned to Kerber and said, “I think you deserve to be number one, but maybe next time!” Kerber’s reaction killed on the tennis Internet.
Watch the Women’s Finals at the 2016 U.S. Open Saturday at 4pm ET on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange.