Angelique Kerber has reached her third major final this year after dispatching Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets at the U.S. Open.
Kerber earned her first career No. 1 ranking before she even stepped on court Thursday with Serena Williams’ loss in the first semifinal. Then Kerber went out and looked like a top-ranked player, winning the first four games en route to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
The German lefty will face Karolina Pliskova on Saturday in a rematch of the final at Cincinnati nearly three weeks earlier. Kerber would have taken over the No. 1 ranking then had she won that day, but Pliskova instead captured a breakthrough title and has ridden that momentum since.
Kerber had never made a Grand Slam final at the start of this year. Then she not only advanced that far but won the title at the Australian Open, beating Williams in the championship match. She followed that up with a run to the Wimbledon final, where she lost to Williams.
Wozniacki is a two-time runner-up at Flushing Meadows, but she arrived at this year’s tournament at No. 74 in the world after missing 2½ months because of an ankle injury. She was seeking to become the lowest-ranked women’s finalist at the U.S. Open, other than an unranked Kim Clijsters in 2009.