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Tennis

Angelique Kerber rises to world number one

Angelique Kerber is the 22nd woman to hold top spot on the circuit.
Angelique Kerber is the 22nd woman to hold top spot on the circuit. Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today
2 min

Angelique Kerber marked her ascent to the top spot in women's tennis on Thursday night with a straight sets destruction of a former world number one Caroline Wozniacki. 

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The 28-year-old German was anointed queen of the circuit after Serena Williams was dethroned following her semif-final loss to the 10th seed Karolina Pliskova.

"I watched the last few points of their match," Kerber said. "It was not so easy to then go on court because I knew that if Serena lost that I would be the number one.

"So it was not so easy mentally. But I was trying to not put too much pressure on myself."

Kerber beat the unseeded Dane 6-4, 6-3 to advance to her third Grand Slam final of the season. She won the Australian Open in January and was beaten by Williams in the Wimbledon final in July.

"I think I'm growing and I'm not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happens," Kerber said. "I can go out there and focus on my game. That gives me also a lot of confidence with the situation."

After finishing 2015 ranked 10th in the world, with only one Grand Slam semi-final appearance behind her, she claimed her first major but then slumped to opening round defeats during the clay court season at the Madrid and Rome tournaments. There was also an early loss at the French Open.

She responded to those disappointments with a surge to the Wimbledon final. In the prelude to the US Open in New York, she reached the final of the Cincinnati event.

Kerber enters the record books as the 22nd woman to enjoy top spot and is only the second German after Steffi Graf to rule the roost.

"Since winning my first Grand Slam in Australia, I've had much more confidence and much more belief in my game," Kerber said.

"I've been just trying to get used to this pressure. I don't know if I was prepared for this but I think I've played an amazing year. I mean, it's my third Grand Slam final now in one year."

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