Kerber downs Pliskova in Stanford

Winning Italian Open “a little bit like a miracle” says Pliskova

Angelique Kerber claimed her fourth WTA title of the year on Sunday, beating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to win the Bank of the West Classic.

In what was a closely contested final, it was the fifth-seeded Kerber who was able to dig deepest to down Pliskova in two hours and seven minutes.

The opening game served as a sign of things to come, with the fifth-seeded Pliskova rushing out to a 40-0 advantage only to be reeled back in by Kerber who eventually secured the break in a 16-point game.

The first set ebbed and flowed, with Kerber winning the first two games before Pliskova completed two holds either side of a break of Kerber's serve to take a 3-2 advantage. Kerber then rattled off the following four games to take the set 6-4.

Neither player was able to make an impact with their serve in the second set, with Kerber winning just 38 percent of points on her first serve, while Pliskova managed to win 57 percent of points on her first serve. This meant that holding serve was something of a challenge, with nine breaks of serve in just 12 games.

It was Pliskova – who required her ankle to be taped late in the set – who got the edge when it mattered, finally holding serve after seven consecutive breaks to take the set 7-5 and force a decider.

Pliskova looked to be in the driving seat when she broke Kerber to take a 3-2 advantage in the third set, but Kerber recovered to level matters at 4-4 before holding serve to take a 5-4 lead.

Serving to stay in the match, Pliskova slumped with a double fault and a forehand into the net, her 52nd unforced error, to hand Kerber the set 6-4 and with it the match.

Kerber joins world number one Serena Williams as the only players to have won four titles this year, while there is some reason to smile for Pliskova who set to enter the rankings top 10 for the first time.

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