Angelique Kerber fought back to defeat Carla Suárez Navarro at the Western & Southern Open and keep alive her hopes of claiming the No.1 ranking.
WTA Staff

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Angelique Kerber fought back to defeat Carla Suárez Navarro at the Western & Southern Open and move within touching distance of claiming the No.1 ranking.

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By winning the title in Cincinnati, Kerber will end Serena Williams' 183-week reign as World No.1, and she kept the dream alive with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory on Friday aftrnoon.

Earlier this summer Suárez Navarro edged Kerber in a high-quality encounter in Birmingham. While the rematch failed to scale these heights, for a set and a half it looked like the result would go the same way.

The chase for top spot has now seen Kerber play 21 matches since the start of June, and at times against Suárez Navarro she appeared to be running on empty. Her usual consistency from the back of the court conspicuous by its absence, the No.2 seed committed 17 unforced errors in dropping the opening set.

Fortunately for the German, the soaring temperatures and a leg injury caused her opponent to fall away spectacularly, struggling in vain to keep fatigue at bay. The turning point came midway through the second set, a scrappy game giving Kerber a 4-2 and some much-needed momentum.

Willing herself forward, she hung onto this lead, swinging a serve out wide and beyond Suárez Navarro's reach to level the match. This positivity continued into the decider, a brilliant angled backhand bringing an immediate break as she hurtled towards a semifinal meeting with either Simona Halep.

"I think I changed a little bit my game in the second set: I was trying to go for it when I have the chance and to making the rallies a little bit shorter," Kerber said. "I was still thinking that I can turn around the match even after losing the first set and going down a break early in the next set."