Angelique Kerber couldn't take that final step up to No. 1.

The world's second-ranked player wasted a chance to end Serena Williams' long run at the top. She fell behind at the outset, repeatedly missed routine shots and fell to Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match Sunday at the Western & Southern Open.

Williams will be ranked No. 1 for the 184th consecutive week, two shy of Steffi Graf's WTA record that ended in 1997. And Kerber will remain right behind after her frustrating performance on Sunday. Williams, the two-time defending champion in Cincinnati, missed the tournament because of a sore shoulder.

It was the biggest win of Pliskova's career, the Czech's first title in a premier tournament.

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