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.

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.