Pliskova and Cilic Win First Western & Southern Open Titles
Karolina Pliskova denied Angelique Kerber both her first Western & Southern Open title and the top ranking with a solid 6-3, 6-1 win over the world No. 2 player.
Kerber fell behind from the very beginning as Pliskova built a solid 4-0 lead in the first set. Kerber would do her best to fight back, narrowing the margin to 5-3, but Pliskova kept her game strong and broke Kerber for a third time to close the opening set.
Pliskova maintained her high level of play throughout the match, hitting seven aces and twenty four winners, easing through the second set comfortably.
“Angie’s had an amazing week and has done a great job all year,” Pliskova said on court after her win. “I know she was playing for World No. 1; I think you deserve to be No. 1, but maybe next time!”
Kerber’s loss means Serena Williams will remain the World’s No. 1 player for the 184th consecutive week, only two weeks shy of Steffi Graf’s WTA record that ended in 1997.
Despite finishing his semifinal match just after 1:30am Sunday morning, Marin Cilic turned in another powerful performance, d
ominating Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5 to win his first Western & Southern Open title.
Cilic’s title is just the fifth Masters 1000 title by someone not named Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Rafael
Nadal since 2010, who have combined to win 54 of 59 Masters 1000 tournaments in that span.
Murray, battling fatigue from playing his fourteenth match in fifteen days, struggled right off the bat with Cilic’s powerful serves and strong forehand.
Murray, a two-time champion in Cincinnati, would up his game to start the second set as neither player was able to break the other’s serve in the opening ten games. But Cilic would be the first to capitalize on the other’s mistakes, breaking for a 6-5 lead before serving out the match.
“I’m very proud of this week,” said
Murray. “Obviously today it didn’t go how I would’ve wanted. But I certainly didn’t expect to get to the final when I arrived here. I had some pretty good wins along the way. Today there were tough, tricky conditions with the wind.”
“It’s definitely a big relief,” Cilic said post-match. “This is for sure a huge step forward.”