Heir-apparent Kerber confident she can handle pressure

Sat Aug 27, 2016 1:28pm EDT
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By Simon Cambers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Angelique Kerber says she is ready to deal with the increasing pressure as she targets U.S. Open glory and the world number one ranking.

Victory for the Australian Open champion and Wimbledon runner-up would see Kerber knock Serena Williams off the top spot she has held since early 2013.

Kerber missed the chance to usurp Williams last week when she lost in the final of the Cincinnati Open but says she is trying to focus simply on doing her job.

“I will not put too much pressure on this,” the 28-year-old told reporters at Flushing Meadows on the eve of the event.

“If the day will come I will reach number one, it would be amazing … but I will not think too much (about it).

“I will try to enjoy every moment right now because it's one of the best seasons of my career so far.”

The 28-year-old German, who won her first grand-slam title in Melbourne at the start of the year, lacked belief in the early part of her career.

Her run to the semi-finals in New York in 2011 was the catalyst for her rise up the rankings, but it was a trip to see former world number one Steffi Graf in Las Vegas in early 2015 that really did the trick.   Continued...

Aug 21, 2016; Mason, OH, USA; Angelique Kerber (GER) returns a shot against Karolina Pliskova (CZE) in the finals during the Western and Southern tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports