Angelique Kerber capped off a night on which she was confirmed as the new world number with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals of the US Open.
Serena Williams' defeat to Karolina Pliskova earlier in the day meant that Kerber would move to the top of the rankings regardless of the result of her on Thursday, and she played like a player who had been relieved of the pressure of possibly becoming the first German since the great Steffi Graf to move to number one.
Wozniacki, a two-time finalist in New York, entered the contest playing her best tennis in years, but she was made to pay for a high unforced error count.
Kerber was out of the blocks quickly, and four winners from the second seed coupled with four unforced errors from her opponent was the recipe for two breaks and a 3-0 lead that grew to 4-0.
Wozniacki recovered to go on a three-game run, with both players upping the standard of play as they found their feet. Kerber was able to serve out the set though, taking the opener in 45 minutes.
The unseeded Wozniacki needed to continue to build if she was to get back into the match, but instead she faltered early on and surrendered a break to open the set.
Kerber would go a double break up, with unforced errors the difference between the pair – Kerber making just 16 in comparison to the 26 of Wozniacki. While Wozniacki fought back, there would be no denying Kerber who broke for a third time to take the set 6-3 and with it the match.
The 28-year-old's victory ensures her spot in an incredible third grand slam final of the year, having won her maiden grand slam at the Australian Open, while losing to Williams in the Wimbledon finale. A silver medal at the Rio Olympics provides the trimming on a fantastic year.
Kerber is the first German since Graf in 1997 to reach the summit of the rankings, while she is the oldest player to reach the mark for the first time. Now, all that stands between her and a second grand slam title is a meeting with Pliskova on Saturday.