Angelique Kerber, who fulfilled a dream by completing her rise to the rank of world No.1 in women’s tennis, now has a chance to satisfy a more basic urge – revenge – in the US Open final on Saturday.
The 28-year-old German goes for her second grand slam title of the year against 10th-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, who hopes to ride her huge service game to a maiden major in the Arthur Ashe Stadium showdown.
Last month, Pliskova denied Kerber from claiming the top rankings spot by beating her in the Cincinnati final, and at the trophy ceremony the tall Czech said, “Maybe next time,” as a tepid consolation to the German.
The ‘next time’ has arrived, with a grand slam crown now at stake.
“I remember the Cincinnati final. I was actually really tired because I came from Rio and I had a lot of tough matches there,” Kerber, who claimed silver at the Rio Olympics, told reporters.
“(Here) I can really prepare for the final against Pliskova. I know how she is playing. I know she has a big serve.
“I think I will go out there trying to get my next chance against her and take the revenge.”
Pliskova paved the way for Kerber’s ascent, which will become official in Monday’s new rankings list, by defeating Serena Williams in the US Open semi-finals to clinch No.1 for the German.
Pliskova believes that with her mounting confidence, and big serve, she can go all the way.
“In Cincinnati, I knew Angie … kind of felt some pressure there,” said Pliskova.
“I was really going for my win there and got the win, which gave me a lot of confidence.
“If you believe in yourself, you can beat anyone.”
Kerber, who beat Petra Kvitova in the fourth round and last year’s Open runner-up Roberta Vinci in the quarters before eliminating former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semis, is now focusing on a second slam title.
The German had a celebratory swim in Melbourne’s Yarra River after her breakthrough slam but has nothing planned should she add the US Open crown.
“No, I think that was once and that was OK,” she said when asked about taking another victory plunge.