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Angelique Kerber wins US Open women's final

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NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Germany's Angelique Kerber began her reign as world number one in imperious style battling past a determined Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-4 to win the U.S. Open final on Saturday and claim her second grand slam title of the year.

Kerber, who officially takes over from Serena Williams as the world's top ranked player on Monday, underlined her number one status displaying the heart of a champion as she fought off a fierce challenge from Czech 10th seed Pliskova on a steamy afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 28-year-old began the grand slam year beating Serena Williams to lift the Australian Open title and celebrated again on Saturday rallying from a break down in the third.

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Second seed Kerber fell onto her back when a wilting Pliskova hit a forehand into the net to end two hours and seven minutes of compelling high-quality tennis.

"It's just amazing," a beaming Kerber told an adoring crowd. "I won my second grand slam in one year. That's the best of my career.

"Actually just incredible.

"When I was a kid I was always dreaming to be the number one player in the world and win grand slams and today is the day I won my second grand slam here, especially in New York. I'm the number one player on Monday.

"All the dreams came true this year."

See photos from her epic victory:

13 PHOTOS
Angelique Kerber wins US Open women's final
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Angelique Kerber wins US Open women's final
2016 U.S. Open - Day 13 Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates with the trophy after her win against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the Women's Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium on day thirteen of the 2016 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts after winning a game against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during their 2016 US Open Womens Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2016. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany returns a shot to Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts after defeating Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during their 2016 US Open Womens Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2016. / AFP / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts after winning (6-3) (4-6) (6-4) against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Angelique Kerber (L) of Germany is congratulated by Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic at the end of their 2016 US Open Womens Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2016. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber of Germany kisses the trophy after winning (6-3) (4-6) (6-4) against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Angelique Kerber (R) of Germany holds the first place trophy after winning (6-3) (4-6) (6-4) against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic seen holding the second place trophy after their Women's Singles Final Match on Day Thirteen of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Pliskova, who arrived at Flushing Meadows with the reputation of grand slam under-achiever having never before been beyond the third round of the major, shed that label by making it all the way to the final and taking on back-to-back world number ones.

After beating top ranked Serena Williams in the semi-finals to end the American's record-equalling 186 week stay at the top of the rankings, Pliskova faced her successor in the final.

The match opened with Kerber breaking a jittery Pliskova and ended the same way.

With Kerber closing in on a straight-sets victory, Pliskova finally made a breakthrough sailing a reflex lob over the second seed that landed on the line to secure her first break in five chances and a 4-3 lead.

Pliskova served out to even the match, the first time the entire tournament that Kerber had dropped a set.

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Play remained tight in the third with an increasingly confident Pliskova getting the early break to go up 3-1.

But Kerber, on her first break chance since the opening set, took quick advantage of her opportunity breaking back at 3-3.

By now the towering Czech, beginning to wilt in the punishing conditions, bent over her racket at the end of every point.

Kerber, sensing an opening, stepped up the pressure and pace getting triple break point at 5-4 and closed out the contest on the first match point.

(Editing by Andrew Both)

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