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U.S. Open champ Angelique Kerber replaces Serena Williams at No. 1 in rankings

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Open champion Angelique Kerber officially became the oldest woman to debut at No. 1 in the WTA rankings, ending Serena Williams’ record-tying run of 186 consecutive weeks in the top spot.

Monday’s rankings are the first since February 2013 without Williams at No. 1.

The 28-year-old Kerber’s rise from No. 2 was assured when Williams lost in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows.

Kerber went on to beat Karolina Pliskova in Saturday’s final for her second Grand Slam title of the season. She defeated Williams at the Australian Open in January, then was the runner-up to the American at Wimbledon in July.

She is the first woman from Germany to be ranked No. 1 since Steffi Graf, who has been a mentor for Kerber. Graf and Williams share the mark for most weeks in a row atop the WTA.

“For sure, when I was growing up, Steffi was my idol,” Kerber said, “and this is also special that she is German. She did a lot for German tennis, as well. And now, to be the next after her, to be a German No. 1 and win Grand Slams, this is, for me, really important.”

Williams is now No. 2, followed by French Open champion Garbine Muguruza at No. 3, Agnieszka Radwanska at No. 4, Simona Halep at No. 5, and Pliskova at a career-best of No. 6. Pliskova was No. 11 before making it past the third round of a major for the first time and becoming the fourth woman to eliminate both Williams sisters during a Grand Slam tournament.

Roberta Vinci, the U.S. Open runner-up in 2015, dropped from No. 8 to No. 15 on Monday after losing to Kerber in the quarterfinals last week.

Victoria Azarenka went from No. 7 to No. 11; she skipped the U.S. Open because she is pregnant.

Novak Djokovic remained at No. 1 in the ATP rankings despite losing to No. 3 Stan Wawrinka in the men’s final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night. Andy Murray stayed at No. 2.

Rafael Nadal gained one spot to No. 4, and Kei Nishikori moved up from No. 6 to No. 5. Roger Federer slid from No. 4 to No. 7 as he sits out the rest of 2016 while rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee.

Gael Monfils, who lost to Djokovic in the semifinals in New York, jumped from No. 12 to No. 8.

Venus Williams beats No. 1 Kerber in Miami Open quarters

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Venus Williams moved a step closer to her first Key Biscayne title since 2001 when she beat top-ranked Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.

It was Williams’ 15th career win against a No. 1 player, but her first since 2014. Seeded No. 11, she’s into the tournament’s semifinals for the first time in seven years.

Williams’ opponent Thursday night will be No. 10-seeded Johanna Konta, who became the first British woman to reach a semifinal in the tournament by beating No. 3 Simona Halep 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2. No. 2 Karolina Pliskova will play No. 12 Caroline Wozniacki in the other semifinal.

Williams took charge of her quarterfinal match when Kerber double-faulted on the final two points of the opening set, and broke serve twice more early in the second set. She closed out the victory on her fifth match point with a backhand winner.

It was a matchup of offense against defense, with Williams the more aggressive player, charging the net often. Kerber stayed rooted to the baseline and was on the defensive even when she served, facing 13 break points and losing serve five times.

The German will remain No. 1 next week despite her loss. She reclaimed the top ranking this month after Indian Wells, replacing Serena Williams, who is sidelined by a knee injury.

Venus Williams improved to 61-13 at Key Biscayne, where she is making her 18th appearance. She won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001 and considers the tournament her hometown event – she lives 90 minutes north in Palm Beach Gardens.

At 36, Williams was the oldest woman to enter the draw, but she hasn’t been taxed physically while winning every set in her four matches.

On the men’s side, Fabio Fognini became the first unseeded player in 10 years to reach the men’s semifinals at Key Biscayne when he beat 2016 runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2. Fognini, 29, who matched his best showing in an ATP Masters 1000 event, will next play the winner of Wednesday night’s match between Rafael Nadal and Jack Sock.

Nishikori was seeded No. 2. Fognini improved to 9-44 against top-10 players, and became the first Italian man to reach a semifinal at Key Biscayne.

Historical marker for tennis great Tilden rejected again

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) A Pennsylvania panel once again rejected a historical marker for Philadelphia tennis great Bill Tilden.

Tilden became the first American to win Wimbledon in 1920 and also won seven U.S. championships. In 1950, The Associated Press voted him the greatest player of the first half of the century.

A year ago, a panel of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission that approves historical markers voted 4-1 against recommending approval of a marker at Philadelphia’s Germantown Cricket Club, citing Tilden’s convictions on charges involving teenage boys in the 1940s.

Karen Galle, coordinator of the historical marker program, confirmed Wednesday that the panel again voted 4-1 against approving the marker in February and that recommendation was among 54 approved by the commission at its March 22 meeting.

“While the significance of this athlete’s tennis career and talent are indisputable, his convictions for sexual misconduct with underage boys preclude recognition,” commission spokesman Howard Pollman said.

Lack of a marker doesn’t diminish Tilden’s accomplishments but approval “may be perceived to dishonor victims of sexual abuse,” Pollman said. Officials have cited the climate in the commonwealth following the sex abuse scandal involving another sports figure, Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky.

Tilden was arrested in Beverly Hills, California, in November 1946, after a 14-year-old boy was caught driving the star’s car erratically. Officers reported that when the teen exited the car, his pants zipper was down. Police charged Tilden with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and he served seven months in jail. He was arrested again in 1949 on allegations that he violated probation by being in the company of another teen boy, and that he groped a third teen. He served 10 months at a prison farm.

Tilden, born to a wealthy Philadelphia family, was featured regularly in magazines, newspapers and newsreels during his career. He was friends with Hollywood elite and played at the White House at the invitation of President Warren Harding. He’s credited with urging children of all economic backgrounds to learn tennis, once a sport only for the wealthy, and modern players still value his manuals on how to play.

After his convictions, Tilden’s Germantown membership was revoked, and his portrait was removed. In recent years, the club has begun to embrace Tilden’s memory, and a group of Philadelphians has been lobbying for a historical marker at the site.