A left-hander known for her aggressive counter-punching all-court game, Kerber has won 10 Singles titles across all surfaces on the WTA Tour, including two major titles at the 2016 Australian Open and the 2016 US Open. She has also won an Olympic silver medal while representing Germany at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Kerber was born in Bremen, to an ethnic German father from Poznań, Sławomir Kerber, and a Polish mother, Beata (née Rzeźnik), who is her manager. She has one sister, Jessica. She grew up in Kiel and started playing tennis at age three, eventually joining the junior circuit. In 2012, Kerber moved to Puszczykowo; a suburb of Poznań, Poland, where her maternal grandfather owns an indoor tennis facility. She made inroads at events in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, but did not win a junior title before 2003, at which point she had already turned professional at age 15. Kerber speaks German, Polish and English and holds dual German-Polish citizenship. She has competed for Germany since the start of her career. In an interview Kerber clarified that, despite strong Polish connection, she considers herself German: "I am German. I play for Germany, I grew up in Germany, and my heart beats for Germany"; however, another time she said: "my heart beats for Poland too". A fan of football, Kerber has cited Bundesliga club FC Bayern München as her favorite team.
2007 was Kerber's Grand Slam debut year. She competed in her first Grand Slam main draw at the French Open where she lost to Elena Dementieva in the opening round. She then reached her first main draw quarterfinal at the 2007 Ordina Open, before losing to eventual champion Anna Chakvetadze. At Wimbledon, she once again lost to Chakvetadze in the first round. Then at the US Open, she drew Serena Williams in the first round and lost in straight sets.
Kerber attained her first Grand Slam victory in the 2008 Australian Open by beating Maret Ani, before losing to Francesca Schiavone. She then reached the second round of the 2008 Pattaya Women's Open, the third round of the 2008 Pacific Life Open and the second round of 2008 Sony Ericsson Open. She also lost in the first rounds of the 2008 Estoril Open, the 2008 Qatar Total Open, the 2008 Qatar Telecom German Open and the 2008 French Open. She reached the second round at both the 2008 DFS Classic and the 2008 Ordina Open. She lost in the first round of the 2008 Wimbledon Championships to Elena Baltacha but went on to win back-to-back ITF titles in Spain and France. In 2009, Kerber only won three WTA main draw matches and reached the second round of the US Open as a qualifier where she lost to María José Martínez Sánchez. On the ITF tour she won a tournament in Pozoblanco, Spain, defeating Kristína Kučová in the final.
In 2010, Kerber qualified for the 2010 Australian Open where she reached her first third round in a Grand Slam by upsetting Olga Govortsova and 23rd seed Aravane Rezaï before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in a close three-setter. She then reached her first WTA tour final in 2010 Copa Sony Ericsson Colsanitas, losing to Mariana Duque Mariño after upsetting top-seed Gisela Dulko in the semifinal.
She then reached the second round of the 2010 MPS Group Championships, losing to Varvara Lepchenko. She also reached the third round of the 2010 Family Circle Cup, losing to Daniela Hantuchová, and the quarterfinal of the 2010 Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem losing to Renata Voráčová. At the 2010 French Open she lost in the second round to Aravane Rezaï. On Grass, she reached the third round of the 2010 Aegon Classic, losing to eventual champion Li Na, and the first round of the 2010 UNICEF Open, losing to Justine Henin. She played in the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, where she made it to the third round after defeating Sania Mirza and upsetting thirteenth seed Shahar Pe'er, but lost against Jarmila Groth.
Kerber reached her first quarterfinal of the year at the start of the season at the Hobart International, losing to Bethanie Mattek-Sands. That led to a six-match losing streak which lasted until the Bahamas Women's Open, where she reached the final before losing to Anastasiya Yakimova. She then reached the second round in Miami, losing to Francesca Schiavone. Kerber lost in the first round of Wimbledon to 17-year-old Laura Robson.
Kerber entered the 2011 US Open ranked 92nd in the world. After defeating American Lauren Davis in three sets, she came up against the 12th seed Agnieszka Radwańska in round two and pulled off a shock three set victory result to advance to the third round for the first time. There, she faced unseeded Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, winning in straight sets, and followed it up with victory in the fourth round against Monica Niculescu. Appearing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Kerber surprised 26th seed Flavia Pennetta in three sets to advance to the semifinal, where she lost against the ninth seed, and eventual champion, Samantha Stosur. Kerber reached a career high ranking of world No. 34 after the tournament.
After the Asian swing, Kerber qualified for the Pan Pacific Open where she defeated Bojana Jovanovski in the first round before losing to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwańska. She then reached the semifinals at Osaka where she lost to eventual champion Marion Bartoli. She finished the year as world No. 32.
Kerber's first tournament was the 2012 ASB Classic. She defeated Marina Erakovic in the first round; fifth seed Julia Görges in the second round; and the top seed, Sabine Lisicki, in the quarterfinal, when Lisicki retired due to a back injury. She lost her semifinal match to fourth seeded Flavia Pennetta.
At the 2012 Australian Open, Kerber was the 30th seed. She reached the third round and lost to Maria Sharapova. As a result, Kerber rose to her career high singles ranking of world number 27.
At the 2012 Fed Cup, Kerber played for Germany against the Czech Republic, teaming up along Sabine Lisicki, Julia Görges and Anna-Lena Grönefeld. Her only rubber was a singles match which she played against Lucie Hradecká. She won the tie, producing Germany's only win in the play-off. Her next tournament was the Open GdF Suez where she was the ninth seed, and where she won her first ever WTA title. In the first round, she faced Lucie Šafářová and won in straight sets. In round two, she faced Monica Niculescu and beat her too. She then played the number one seed Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals, beating her in straight sets. This set up a semifinal match against the unseeded Yanina Wickmayer which Kerber won. She played second seed Marion Bartoli in the final and claimed the title, defeating the Frenchwoman in three sets.
She then entered the 2012 Qatar Total Open where she met Sabine Lisicki again, defeating her in the first round. She lost to unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round. Kerber's next tournament was the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Receiving a bye in the first round as the 18th seed, she defeated Sloane Stephens in her opening match, advancing to the fourth round via default over Vania King, who withdrew, and then produced another win from behind against Christina McHale. Kerber upset eighth seed Li Na in the quarterfinals before her successful week came to an end, losing to world number one and eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. Her ranking improved to a career high of number 14 as a result of that run in California. In Miami, Kerber was upset in her opener against Zheng Jie.
Kerber's next stop was the 2012 e-Boks Open in Copenhagen where she was the second seed. In her opener, she struggled past Stéphanie Foretz Gacon and then defeated Anne Keothavong and fellow German Mona Barthel. After that, she defeated third seed and former world number one Jelena Janković to reach her third career WTA final, and second of the year. She won the title, beating the top seed and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets. Kerber represented Germany in the Fed Cup semifinal tie against Australia in Stuttgart, losing to Samantha Stosur in her first match before beating Olivia Rogowska. Germany lost the tie, however, at 3–2. At Stuttgart's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Kerber advanced to the quarterfinals, with wins over Roberta Vinci and sixth seed Caroline Wozniacki, before losing to third seed Petra Kvitová. At the Mutua Madrid Open, she lost to Li Na in the round of 16. She then reached the semifinals of the Rome Masters after avenging her loss to Kvitová in the last eight, there she succumbed to Sharapova in straight sets. She then reached the quarterfinals of the French Open where she lost to eventual finalist Sara Errani.
Kerber reached the final of the Eastbourne grass court tournament, losing to Tamira Paszek, having served for the championship at 5–3 in the deciding set and missing five match points. At the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, Kerber was seeded number eight. In the first round, she defeated Lucie Hradecká. In the second round, she defeated the Russian Ekaterina Makarova. She also defeated the number 28 seed Christina McHale in round 3. In the fourth round, she won easily against the former world number one Kim Clijsters in two sets, booking a place in the quarterfinals in just 49 minutes. In the quarterfinal, she beat fellow German and 15th seeded Sabine Lisicki in three sets, having been down a break in the third. In the semifinal, she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Kerber was ranked number seven. She beat Petra Cetkovská in the first round, Tímea Babos in the second round and Venus Williams in the third, before losing to number one seed Victoria Azarenka in the quarterfinals. In the mixed doubles, she played with Philipp Petzschner, losing in round one, and in the women's doubles she partnered Sabine Lisicki, losing in round two.
Her first tournament of the 2012 US Open Series was the 2012 Rogers Cup, where she lost in the third round to Roberta Vinci. She then played the 2012 Western & Southern Open, beating Tímea Babos in the second round and Andrea Hlaváčková in the third round. In the quarterfinals, Kerber beat Serena Williams for the first time, winning in straight sets. This snapped Williams's 19-match winning streak. Kerber then defeated Petra Kvitová in the semifinal. However, she fell to Li Na in the final in three sets. At the US Open, Kerber, seeded sixth, struggled to victory over unseeded Venus Williams in the second round. She lost in the fourth round to Sara Errani.
Kerber's next tournament was the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. She made it to the semifinals before losing to Agnieszka Radwańska. She reached the quarterfinals of the China Open, but retired against Maria Sharapova. At the season's conclusion, Kerber competed in her first year-end Championships, where she was seeded fifth. She exited the tournament in the round robin stage, without winning any matches.
Kerber began 2013 at the 2013 Brisbane International where she was seeded 4th. She defeated Anna Tatishvili and Monica Puig before losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals. She then competed in Sydney as the second seed where she lost to Dominika Cibulková in the semifinals. Kerber reached the fourth round of the 2013 Australian Open, making this the furthest she had ever progressed in the tournament. Along the way, she defeated Elina Svitolina, Lucie Hradecká, and Madison Keys. She was subsequently defeated by Ekaterina Makarova after struggling with a back injury.
Kerber would reach the semifinals at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open, and the third round in Miami, losing to Caroline Wozniacki and Sorana Cîrstea respectively. Kerber then reached her first final of 2013 in Monterrey as the top seed. She lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets.
To kick off the clay court season, Kerber represented Germany in their Fed Cup World Group play-off against Serbia. After defeating Bojana Jovanovski in her first rubber, Kerber fell to Ana Ivanovic in straight sets. This was immediately followed by a run to the semifinals at the 2013 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where she fell in three sets to eventual champion Maria Sharapova. Kerber then played the 2013 Mutua Madrid Open as the 6th seed. She reached the quarterfinals after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova but was then being defeated by Ivanovic, again in straight sets; it was Kerber's second loss against her in three weeks. At the French Open, Kerber reached the fourth round, only to be beaten there by Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets.
Kerber made an early exit from Wimbledon, where she was a semifinalist the year before, losing in three sets to Kaia Kanepi in the second round.
Kerber made a quarterfinal appearance in Washington where she lost to Magdaléna Rybáriková. At the 2013 Western & Southern Open, Kerber lost to Li Na in the third round. She reached the fourth round of the US Open, losing to Carla Suárez Navarro.
In September, Kerber reached her second final of 2013 at the 2013 Toray Pan Pacific Open, but lost to Petra Kvitová in three sets. The following week at the China Open, she reached the quarterfinals where she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska. At the 2013 Generali Ladies Linz, Kerber won her third WTA title, beating two-time champion Ana Ivanovic and filled the last spot at the WTA Championships. In her second outing at the WTA Championships, Kerber did not advance past the round robin stage. She defeated Radwańska but suffered losses to Serena Williams and Kvitová.
Kerber's first singles event of the season was at the 2014 Brisbane International, reaching the quarterfinals. In Sydney, Kerber made the final, only to lose to Tsvetana Pironkova in straight sets. In the fourth round of the 2014 Australian Open, she was defeated by Flavia Pennetta in three sets. At the 2014 Open GDF Suez in Paris, she made it to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual tournament champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Kerber played for Germany in the Fed Cup in February. She contributed to defeating Slovakia by winning both of her singles rubbers, defeating Dominika Cibulková and Daniela Hantuchová respectively. Kerber then reached the final in Doha, losing to Simona Halep. She lost her opening match at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open to María Teresa Torró Flor and reached the quarterfinals in Miami, where she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets.
Following early losses in Madrid and Rome, Kerber reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 Nürnberger Versicherungscup tournament, losing to eventual finalist Karolína Plíšková. At the 2014 French Open, Kerber lost to Eugenie Bouchard in the fourth round.
Kerber reached the final at the 2014 Aegon International, losing to Madison Keys in three sets. At Wimbledon, Kerber was seeded 9th and defeated Urszula Radwańska, Heather Watson, and Kirsten Flipkens to reach the fourth round, where she defeated Maria Sharapova. In the quarterfinals, she lost to Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets.
In July, Kerber participated in Stanford where she was the 3rd seed. She had a first round bye and, in her opening match, faced Coco Vandeweghe, whom she defeated in three sets. Then she defeated Garbiñe Muguruza and Varvara Lepchenko to reach the final, her fourth final of 2014. There she faced Serena Williams and lost despite having a lead in the first set. The following week, she played in Montreal where she was the 6th seed. She received a first round bye again. Then she defeated Caroline Garcia before losing to the resurging Venus Williams in a tough three setter. Kerber was the sixth seed at the 2014 Western & Southern Open and won her second round match against Makarova in straight sets after receiving a first round bye. She then lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. Kerber also lost in the third round of the US Open to unseeded 17-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, after having defeated Ksenia Pervak and Alla Kudryavtseva in the first and second rounds respectively.
Kerber next participated at the 2014 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, where she was the top seed. Again having a first round bye, she reached the semifinals by defeating Elina Svitolina and Dominika Cibulková before losing to eventual champion Ana Ivanovic. At the 2014 Wuhan Open, Kerber defeated Zarina Diyas and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová to reach the quarterfinals. She then lost to Svitolina. The following week at the China Open, she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in round 3. Kerber did not qualify for the WTA Finals but entered the tournament as an alternate. Kerber finished 2014 by representing Germany in the Fed Cup final. She lost her first match to Lucie Šafářová in straight sets. In her next match, she faced fellow Top 10 Petra Kvitová. Despite losing the first set tiebreak, she avoided a second set bagel by coming back to win it 6–4. She ended up losing the match when Kvitová launched her comeback from 1–4 down in the third set, to win it 6–4, giving the Czech team the title.
Kerber began the 2015 season at the 2015 Brisbane International, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to Elina Svitolina in straight sets. She then beat Lesia Tsurenko in the first round of the 2015 Apia International Sydney and went on to reach the semifinals before losing to Karolína Plíšková. At the 2015 Australian Open, she suffered a first round loss to Irina-Camelia Begu, it was the first time Kerber had lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon in 2011. Kerber then represented Germany in the Fed Cup where the Germans faced Australia in round 1. She lost her 1st match to Jarmila Gajdošová in three sets but then defeated Samantha Stosur in straight sets in her next match.
At the Diamond Games, Kerber suffered a shocking straight sets loss to Francesca Schiavone in her opener. Following the loss, Kerber dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2012. At Dubai, Kerber lost to Flavia Pennetta in the third round in three sets. The following week in Doha, Kerber drew wild card Victoria Azarenka in the first round and lost in straight sets. In March, Kerber was seeded 13th in Indian Wells and received a first round bye. However, she fell to Sloane Stephens in her opening match. At the Miami Open, Kerber was once again the 13th seed and had a first round bye. She overcame British player Heather Watson in the second round to face Kuznetsova but lost in three sets.
At the 2015 Family Circle Cup, Kerber overcame a 4–2 third-set deficit to beat Evgeniya Rodina and then cruised past Lara Arruabarrena to reach the last eight. Her run continued with a win over Irina-Camelia Begu in two tiebreak sets and a straight sets win over fellow German and defending champion Andrea Petkovic to advance to her first final of 2015 where she faced Madison Keys. She fought back from a 4–1 third set deficit to win, claiming her fourth WTA title and her first since Linz in October 2013. This was her first title on clay. Kerber then played for Germany against Russia in the semifinals of the Fed Cup. She did not play on the first day, but on the second day she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets, with the loss of one game. The win, however, was not enough as Germany lost in the doubles allowing Russia to advance to the final.
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Kerber was unseeded and started her run by beating Alexa Glatch in straight sets. In the second round, she beat Maria Sharapova in three sets. She then beat Ekaterina Makarova and Madison Brengle in straight sets to reach the final where she came back from being a set down and 5–3 down in the final set to beat Caroline Wozniacki in three sets. This was her fifth career title and saw her extend her winning streak on clay to 11 matches for the season.
Kerber's winning streak came to an end in the hands of Samantha Stosur in the opening round in Madrid, which Kerber lost in three sets. At the Italian Open, Kerber made it to the second round after defeating Alizé Cornet but lost to Begu. At Nürnberg, Kerber made it to semifinals, but conceded a walkover to Roberta Vinci. At the French Open, Kerber was seeded 11th and defeated both Tímea Babos and Ajla Tomljanović in straight sets to reach round three, where she lost to Garbiñe Muguruza.
Kerber began her grass court season at the Aegon Classic as the 4th seed and received a first round bye. She advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Tsvetana Pironkova and Jelena Janković. She then overcame Czech Kateřina Siniaková in straight sets to set up an all-German semifinal where she faced Sabine Lisicki in their first meeting since Wimbledon in 2012. Kerber won the match in straight sets and subsequently advanced to her third final of the season where she defeated Karolina Plíšková in a tight three-setter for her 6th career title and her first on grass. This marked the first time Kerber had won more than two titles in a season. At Wimbledon as the 10th seed, Kerber easily beat Carina Witthöft and Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the third round where she lost to eventual finalist Muguruza in three sets.
Kerber began her summer hard court season at the Bank of the West Classic as the fifth seed. Defending finalist points, Kerber beat Daria Gavrilova and Ana Konjuh in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals. There, she faced second seed Agnieszka Radwańska, whom she defeated in a three-set marathon match in two and a half hours to reach the last four. She then avenged her loss to Svitolina earlier in the year, overpowering the Ukrainian in straight sets to reach the final where she faced Plíšková again. Kerber won in three sets to collect her seventh career title. Kerber then reached the round of 16 at Toronto after defeating a pair of qualifiers Misaki Doi and Monica Puig but then fell short to Simona Halep in three sets. She was then defeated by Belinda Bencic in the first round of the Western & Southern Open in straight sets. At the US Open, 11th seeded Kerber defeated Alexandra Dulgheru and Karin Knapp in straight sets to set up a third-round match with Azarenka, a match she lost in three sets.
During the Asian swing, Kerber reached the quarterfinals in Tokyo where she lost to Wozniacki in three sets. At the Wuhan Open, Kerber reached the last eight after dispatching Jelena Janković and Camila Giorgi. She then advanced to the semifinals after Coco Vandeweghe retired in the second set. In the semifinals, she faced Muguruza for the fourth time that season and lost in straight sets. Her next tournament was the China Open where she had a first round bye. She advanced to the last eight after seeing off both Dominika Cibulková and 8th seed Wozniacki in straight sets. She then succumbed to Radwańska in straight sets. Kerber then received a wildcard into the Hong Kong Open where she was the second seed. She safely advanced to the final where she faced Janković but fell in three sets. It was announced on 21 October that Kerber had qualified for the WTA Finals. As the 6th seed, she was drawn into the same group with Muguruza and fellow left-handed players Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová. She exited in the round-robin stage, managing just one win over Kvitová.
Kerber began the year at the Brisbane International, defeating Camila Giorgi, Madison Brengle, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Carla Suárez Navarro to reach the final where she came up short to Victoria Azarenka. In Sydney, she withdrew with gastrointestinal illness after defeating Elina Svitolina in the opening round.
Kerber was the seventh seed at the Australian Open and beat Misaki Doi in the first round, having been a match point down. She then scored a triplet of straight-set wins over Alexandra Dulgheru, Brengle, and compatriot Annika Beck to reach her first quarterfinal in Melbourne, completing the sweep of quarterfinal appearances at all four Grand Slams in the process. In the quarterfinals, she avenged her Brisbane loss by beating 2-time champion Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, her first win against the Belarusian, to advance to her third Grand Slam semifinal. In the semifinals, Kerber beat Johanna Konta in straight sets to reach her maiden Grand Slam final where she defeated defending champion and then-world No. 1 Serena Williams, earning her first Grand Slam title and becoming the first German to do so since 1999. She also achieved her highest ranking to date as world No. 2 with her win.
Her next appearance was at the Fed Cup. In Germany's tie against Switzerland, Kerber scored a straight-set win over Timea Bacsinszky but lost to Belinda Bencic. She then withdrew from the Dubai Tennis Championships due to a right thigh injury. Kerber's next tournament was the Qatar Open. She had a first round bye but lost to Saisai Zheng in straight sets. At the BNP Paribas Open, Kerber lost her opening round to Denisa Allertová, giving Radwanska the opportunity to surpass her for the No. 2 spot by reaching the semifinals. However, this lasted a week before Kerber was able to reclaim her ranking in Miami by advancing to the semifinals.
Her next event was the Volvo Car Open, where she was the No. 1 seed and defending champion. She reached the semifinals to face Sloane Stephens and she was forced to retire due to a viral illness. Failing to defend her points, Kerber once again allowed Radwanska to surpass her as the world No. 2. She then served Germany to play the World Group Playoffs and defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets in her first match. Next, she defeated Simona Halep, losing only four games, to earn her first victory over the Romanian in four career meetings. Her two wins helped Germany to stay in the World Groups next year by defeating Romania 4–1.
Her next tournament was the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, where she was the defending champion. She received a first round bye and defeated Annika Beck, Carla Suárez Navarro, and Petra Kvitová to reach the final. There she faced compatriot and qualifier Laura Siegemund, who defeated three top ten players en route to the final. Kerber managed to defend her title, winning ten games in a row from 2–4 down in the first set to beat Siegemund in straight sets and ensure her second title of the year. Following opening-round losses in Madrid and Rome, Kerber also lost in the first round of the 2016 French Open, to Kiki Bertens.
Prior to the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, Kerber played at the Birmingham Classic where she was the defending champion. She beat Shuai Peng and Daria Gavrilova before losing to Carla Suárez in the quarterfinals. At the third Grand Slam of the year, she did not drop a set, defeating Laura Robson, Varvara Lepchenko, Carina Witthöft, Misaki Doi and Simona Halep en route to her second semifinal at the tournament. In the semifinals, she defeated Venus Williams in straight sets to advance to her second major final, on 9 July, where she lost in straight sets to Serena Williams in a rematch of their Australian Open encounter.
After her Wimbledon campaign, Kerber played at the Swedish Open where she withdrew before her second round match due to an injury. Prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics, she played at the Rogers Cup, beating Mirjana Lučić-Baroni, No. 17 seed Elina Svitolina (both in three sets) and Daria Kasatkina (losing only four games) en route to her first semifinal at the event. She then lost to Simona Halep in a rematch of their Wimbledon quarterfinal.
At the Olympic Games in Rio, Kerber defeated Mariana Duque, Eugenie Bouchard, Samantha Stosur, Johanna Konta and Madison Keys for a place in the gold medal match, where she lost to Monica Puig.
After the Olympic Games, Kerber participated in the Western & Southern Open. She had the opportunity to dethrone Serena Williams as the WTA world No. 1 if she won the title. Kerber defeated Kristina Mladenovic, Barbora Strýcová, Carla Suárez Navarro, and Simona Halep to reach the final, where she faced No. 15 seed Karolína Plíšková. She had defeated Plíšková in 2 finals last year, but Plíšková defeated Kerber this time. Kerber was, therefore, unable to unseat Williams at No. 1.
At the 2016 US Open, Kerber advanced to the finals after defeating Polona Hercog (who retired in the second set), Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Catherine Bellis, Petra Kvitová, 2015 finalist Roberta Vinci and an unseeded 2-time finalist Caroline Wozniacki en route. Her advance to the finals combined with Serena Williams' loss in the semifinals to 10th seeded Karolína Plíšková meant that she gathered enough points to successfully unseat Serena Williams as world No. 1, with this ranking reflected in the week starting 12 September 2016. She defeated Plíšková in three sets in the final to claim her second Grand Slam title.
In Wuhan, in her first tournament since claiming the world No. 1 ranking, Kerber defeated Kristina Mladenovic before losing to Petra Kvitová in three hours and nineteen minutes. After Wuhan, Kerber traveled to Beijing, China to compete in the China Open. In her first two matches of the tournament, she beat Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova both in straight sets. In the round of 16, she lost to the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Her next tournament she played was the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, there she beat Maria Sakkari, in straight sets, and the American Louisa Chirico, in three sets, before losing in the quarterfinals to Australia's Daria Gavrilova in straight sets.
On 17 October 2016, Serena Williams pulled out of the WTA Finals in Singapore due to a shoulder injury. This withdrawal secured Kerber's spot at the summit of the WTA rankings for the rest of the year. This was Kerber's first time ending the year with the number one ranking. As the top seed of the Tour Finals, Kerber was drawn in the red group alongside Simona Halep, Madison Keys, and Dominika Cibulková. She won all of her round robin matches, losing only one set to Cibulková en route to her first semifinal at the event. She then beat defending champion Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets to reach the final to face Cibulková once again, to whom she lost in straight sets.
At the start of the 2017 season, Kerber competed in the Brisbane International as the top seed. After receiving a first round bye, Kerber won her opening match against Ashleigh Barty in three sets but then lost to Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals. Kerber then competed at Apia International Sydney where she received a first round bye but proceeded to lose her opening match to Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina.
After early lackluster performances, Kerber entered the Australian Open as the defending champion and top seed for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament. She faced Lesia Tsurenko in the first round and defeated her in three sets after squandering match point in the second set. Kerber then defeated compatriot Carina Witthöft in the second round and Kristýna Plíšková in the third round. Kerber then lost to Coco Vandeweghe in the fourth round winning only five games and ending her title defense. After Serena Williams won the tournament, she amassed enough points to take back her top ranking from Kerber.
Her next two tournaments were the Qatar Open and the Dubai Tennis Championships. At the former, she received a first-round bye before losing to Daria Kasatkina once again. At the latter, Kerber also received a first-round bye and beat Mona Barthel to set up a rematch of her Olympic final against Monica Puig, which she won in straight sets. She then beat Ana Konjuh to reach her first semifinal in Dubai, losing there to Svitolina. This defeat prevented Kerber from returning to world No.1.
At the 2017 BNP Paribas Open seeded 2nd Kerber received a bye into the second round defeating fellow countrywoman Andrea Petkovic, followed by a tight 3 set win over Pauline Parmentier before losing to eventual champion Elena Vesnina in the fourth round. She lost to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals at the Miami event. Kerber regained the world No.1 ranking after Serena Williams withdrew before the tournament with a knee injury. In Monterrey she reached the final.
Kerber began the clay court season with a loss in Stuttgart to eventual runner-up Kristina Mladenovic, this way dropping from the top slot. Then she retired in the third match of Madrid, but due to Serena's absence became world number 1 again. At the 2017 French Open, Kerber became the first WTA world no. 1 in history to be ousted in the first round of the French Open, falling in straight sets to Ekaterina Makarova.
At the start of Kerber's grass court season, she reached the quarterfinals of the Eastbourne International, before being defeated by home favourite Johanna Konta. Kerber went out in the fourth round of Wimbledon, losing to eventual champion Garbiñe Muguruza. Due to Kerber's early exit and Simona Halep's lost to Johanna Konta in the semifinals. Karolína Plíšková became the new no. 1 after the tournament.
Her woes continued into the US hard court swing where she lost to Sloane Stephens in the opening round of the 2017 Rogers Cup. She suffered another opening-round loss to Ekaterina Makarova in the 2017 Western & Southern Open despite having a match point, and another first round loss to Naomi Osaka as the defending champion at the 2017 US Open. With this loss Kerber, dropped out of the top 10.
Kerber, a world-class returner, is known for fighting spirit and defensive skills, often forcing opponents into error with quick, efficient movement both laterally and vertically on the court. Kerber is solid off both forehand and backhand, playing both shots primarily cross court. Kerber's backhand, arguably her more reliable shot, is almost exclusively played cross court but occasionally Kerber utilizes a backhand drop shot. In 2015, having risen to peak fitness, Kerber showed the ability to turn defense into offense and make extremely difficult cross court passing shots. In the 2017 Australian Open, commentator Elise Burgin suggested that because Kerber plays her backhand cross court 90% of the time, opponents can target the backhand until a forehand down the line becomes a feasible option. Kerber's serve also proved to be a liability in this tournament, often lacking pace and penetration.
Kerber endorses Adidas clothes and Yonex racquets. In early 2015, she became global ambassador of Stuttgart car manufacturer Porsche. In late 2016 she signed a deal with insurance group Generali. In late 2016, she became beauty ambassador for the US cosmetics company bare Minerals, a Shiseido brand. In 2017, she became the global brand ambassador for Australian health snack brand Slim Secrets and signed with the Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex.
Kerber has received the following awards:WTA Player of the Year (2016)German Sportswoman of the Year (2016)Nominated for the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award (2016)Named among espnW's Impact25 (2016)Named among "Europe's 30 under 30" by Forbes (2017)