New No. 1 Kerber, younger stars standing between Serena and history

Kerber is 44-0 this season when she wins the first set.

"Yeah, when I won the point I knew, Okay, I have the feeling", said Kerber of the forehand. Although it was a distraction, she said Pliskova earned her victory.

There were plenty of lengthy exchanges in the first set and Kerber tended to get the better of them, winning nine of 14 points that lasted at least 10 strokes. That continued a pattern that carried throughout: Djokovic, as good a returner as there is in the game - now, certainly, and perhaps ever - managed to convert only 3 of 17 break chances.

But what made it sweeter was Kerber became the first German to become world No. 1 since Steffi Graf in 1997.

US Open victor Angelique Kerber poses after a news conference at the airport hotel in Munich, Germany September 13, 2016.

"Maybe it's time changing and different players are coming up", Pliskova said. Interestingly, 10 of the past 13 players to beat Serena Williams at a major, now including Pliskova, lost their next match.

Angelique Kerber didn't quite know what to say.

"Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the number one". Kerber took advantage of Pliskova's big-match nerves - evidenced by a couple of misses at the net - to break in the opening game.

Finding herself back in front, Kerber showed resilience in the final games as she held out without being broken to take the title by claiming the final set 6-4. Li Na, who won the 2011 French Open at 29 and, three years later, the Australian Open.

Mary Joe Fernandez, the US Fed Cup captain, asked on Saturday, shortly before Kerber went out and played her latest remarkable match under major pressure to defeat 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in the Open final.

Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova finished the final frame tied on the second serves.

Victoria Azarenka went from No.7 to No.11.

This week, the US Open concluded without Serena Williams winning. He also had a quite unconventional road to the final round, as he only had to complete three out of his six matches; two opponents retired early from injury, while one gave him a walkover.

"The younger generation is definitely catching up", 18-time grand slam champion Martina Navratilova said.

"I found out I can play my best tennis on these big courts", she told reporters. It has been quite a turnaround for a player who did not play into the second week at any of the four grand slams previous year.

"After that, I reached the final at Wimbledon, so that was one step after".

"Even when she was down a set and break she was still fighting".

Pliskova had never gone past the third round of a major tournament before but she pushed her opponent all the way with her power from the baseline and blistering serve.

And she also intends to respond to the many goodwill messages she has been receiving but hasn't had time to read. But it's going to get tougher. "I don't think Serena's going anywhere but it gets more hard as the younger players come up". I have to be the one who is aggressive. "For me, it's really important to go on my own way and to have her in Germany with all the things she did for tennis, it's just wonderful", she added.

"I used to watch a lot of her matches and I remember that all the matches were very fast".

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