WTA Insider David Kane | Angelique Kerber narrowly missed out on the top spot in Cincinnati, but has a big chance to cap her career-year with the No.1 ranking at the US Open.
WTA Staff

NEW YORK, NY, USA - The WTA rankings system is an unforgiving formula, one that determines the best player of the last 52 weeks. After her scintillating summer through the Emirates Airline US Open Series - sandwiched between a silver medal at the Olympic tennis event - that player is looking more and more like Angelique Kerber.

Kerber fell one match short of clinching the No.1 ranking last week when she bowed out in the final of the Western & Southern Open, but has nonethless been the most consistent force since the French Open, reaching the final of Wimbledon and the semifinals of the Rogers Cup - all in addition to her aforementioned runner-up finish in Rio, a result that offered no WTA ranking points.

"To have a lot of the matches going into the US Open, that was actually my goal. I think I have a lot!" she said after her semifinal win over Simona Halep in Cincinnati.

More than a lot, the Australian Open champion has the more than any of her fellow competitors with a tour-leading 47 match wins - 10 more than Dominika Cibulkova and Monica Puig, who share the second-highest total, and 14 more than current World No.1 Serena Williams.

"I prefer to playing matches than practice. I'm here to play good tennis, trying to win matches, and this is my goal."

Williams and Kerber have split their head-to-head thus far in 2016; the American avenged her Melbourne defeat and earned a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title at the All England Club, dispatching Kerber in a tense two-setter that featured razor thin margins.

Kerber still has the best chance of grabbing the No.1 ranking in Flushing, having fewer points to defend than her chief rival; her 2015 came to a close in the third round, losing to former No.1 Victoria Azarenka in what many rank among the best matches of the season.

Should she and Serena meet in the final, it would not only be their third major face-off of the year, but the winner would also take home the top spot.

But if the last week is any indication, one will be hard-pressed to get the US Open's No.2 seed to discuss the history on the line - she could be the first German woman to hit No.1 since Stefanie Graf in 1997.

"I had great three weeks with a lot of emotions. With the No. 1, I mean, if it happens, it happens. But I will not making the pressure.

"I had such a great year so far and it's not over yet," she added after the final.

Her fourth career berth into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global means her year will go right to the end of the road (to Singapore) in 2016, and while she'll be aiming for a strong finish in Flushing, Kerber can't help but look back on her career year with nothing but fond memories.

"I won my first Grand Slam and everything that's happened in the last few months is just incredible. I try and enjoy it. Some days you're losing matches; some days you win."