Pliskova Captures First Cincinnati Title

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic rolled to the women’s singles title of the Western & Southern Open on Sunday afternoon, denying Angelique Kerber’s rise to the No. 1 ranking in the process.

Pliskova jumped out to early leads in both sets to defeat second-ranked Kerber 6-3, 6-1 and record the biggest tournament victory over her career. 

“Overall I had a pretty good week so I was improving match to match,” Pliskova said. “I was expecting I'm going to play good, but I wasn't expecting it that easy.

“I mean, the tennis wasn't that easy as the scores look like, but I think she might be little bit tired or she felt little bit pressure on herself.”

Pliskova broke Kerber twice early to go up in the first set 4-0. She also quickly went ahead 3-0 in the second set. 

“She starts very strong, and I think at the first game there were just like one, two points which decides why it was 4-Love so fast,” Kerber said. 

Pliskova fired seven more aces to boost her tournament total to 47, winning 86 percent of her first serves in the final. She leads the WTA with 407 aces this year. 

Kerber, who won the Australian Open and reached the Wimbledon and Olympic finals this year, needed to win the title to assume the No. 1 world ranking over Serena Williams. She will remain at No. 2. 

Pliskova is projected to rise to No. 11 in the rankings. 

Between semifinals in Montreal and final appearances at the Rio Games and Cincinnati, Kerber has had a busy three weeks in her lead up to the US Open. 

“Of course, it was a lot of pressure and a lot of matches I had in the last three weeks, a lot of travel around the world actually,” Kerber said. “But I prefer to playing matches than practice. 

“I had great three weeks with a lot of emotions. And also with the No. 1, I mean, if it's happen, it's happen someday. But I will not making the pressure.”

CINCY SPECIFICS: Pliskova became the first Czech woman to win the Cincinnati singles title. She is also the lowest seeded player to win the title, though four unseeded players have won over the years. Kerber has reached two Cincinnati finals (2016, 2012). 

TWO TITLE 2016: Sunday win marks Pliskova’s second title of the year. She won a grass court title in Nottingham. She now has six career titles.