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Graf inspires champion Kerber

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 11-09-2016 skysports.com
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Angelique Kerber has revealed how a good-luck message from Steffi Graf inspired her to US Open glory. 

Kerber beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3 4-6 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday to edge a nail-biting final and seal her second Grand Slam title this year.

The success caps a superb 12 months for Kerber, who clinched her first major triumph at the Australian Open in January, reached the Wimbledon final this summer and will become world No 1 on Monday.

She also becomes the first German US Open champion since Graf in 1996. The two have become friends in recent years and spent some time practising together in Las Vegas at the end of last season.

Also read: Kerber begins reign as No.1 with US Open win

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"I used to watch a lot of her matches and I remember that all the matches were very fast. This is what I remember," Kerber said.

"I heard from her yesterday (Friday) or like two days ago. She was wishing me luck for the final.

"Right now I don't know if she has messaged me because my phone is somewhere, so I don't know how many messages I have now. But she was always my idol and I told her that so many times. She's a great champion as well.

"For me it's really important to go on my own way and to have her in Germany with all the things she did for tennis, it's just amazing."

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The win saw Kerber become the first woman, other than Williams, to win two grand slams in a year since Justine Henin in 2007. 

"What's happened in the last two weeks, it's just incredible," she added. "Also, how I was dealing with the pressure when I came here and everybody was asking me about the number one.

"This was what I was trying to improve with the pressure and also today, it's always tough to go in the final when I know the opponent beat me like two or three weeks ago.

"That was also a challenge and I told myself, 'OK, I will do everything on court today to win the match against Karolina'."

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