The Western & Southern Open final will be the seventh career meeting between Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova, who both eliminated their semifinal opponents in straight sets on Saturday.
The first to make the title match was the 15th-seeded Pliskova, as the Czech dominated fourth seed Garbine Muguruza, not at all being intimidated by the Spaniard's Roland Garros triumph. Reaching an impressive, WTA-leading number of 400 aces this season, Pliskova recorded a 6-1 6-3 victory and showed absolute confidence in her post-match interview:
I know I beat [Muguruza] in the last two matches, so I knew it's going to be tough for her to beat me if I play well or if I play solid. I was not thinking about that she's a French Open champion. This you cannot take on the court. I always believe… there is, I would say, 99% of the players, I can beat all of them if I play good tennis.
No wonder Pliskova is so confident, when the world No.3 describes her today's game in this way:
She plays really fast and goes for shots that are unreal.
In the second semifinal, Kerber ended the 13-match winning streak of Halep, who is playing her best tennis of the season. The seed No.2 Kerber scored a 6-3 6-4 victory, earning her 47th win in 2016, more than any other women's tennis player. That WTA-leading position could soon reflect in the German's ranking, as just one match win stands between her and the No.1 spot that has been occupied by Serena Williams for 183 weeks, the second-most all time after Steffi Graf's 186 weeks.
Kerber leads Pliskova 4-2 in their head-to-head stats. Kerber won their last encounter, which was also a final and also on US hardcourts.
Stay tuned for Omar Boraby's photo gallery from today's Cincinnati semifinal matches.