Angelique Kerber has stormed home to win the US Open title with a 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory over Karolina Pliskova in the final.
Kerber came back to win five of the last six games – after trailing 3-1 in the third set – to overpower the 10th-seeded Czech in a gripping decider at Flushing Meadows in New York.
It’s the 28-year-old German’s second grand slam title victory following her Australian Open triumph earlier this year and she will officially overtake Serena Williams at world No.1 on Monday.
Never a grand slam finalist before 2016, left-handed Kerber beat Williams to claim the Australian Open title in January then lost to the American in the Wimbledon final in July.
They seemed to be on course for a third meeting in the final at Flushing Meadows, but big-serving Pliskova eliminated Williams in the semi-finals after beating her sister Venus in the fourth round.
Pliskova hadn’t been past the third round at a grand slam event until this tournament.
Kerber lost to Pliskova the last time they met, just three weeks ago in the final of a hard-court tournament in Cincinnati.
But from the outset of this final, it was Kerber who was in charge.
Her defence was exemplary, scrambling along the baseline to put her racket on seemingly every ball, crouching so low that her knees would come close to scraping the ground.
As she does against most opponents, Kerber would make Pliskova swing two, three, four extra times to try to end a point.
And Pliskova was troubled by that in the early going, making 17 unforced errors in the first set alone, 14 more than Kerber.
But Pliskova hung in there.
And after frittering away her first four break points of the match, she converted her fifth with a lob-volley winner.
Suddenly up 4-3 in the second set, Pliskova turned to her coach up in the stands and yelled, pumping her fists.
Now it was a match, and as they went to the third set, both women began showing more and more emotion.
Pliskova served out the second set and spiked a ball.
Kerber got broken early in the third and bounced her racket off the court.
Moments later, the German trailed 3-1.
But this was Kerber’s turn to show some mettle, breaking back to 3-all and again to end it.