Serena wins U.S. Open for fifth time|
Flushing Meadows, NY (Sports Network) - Repeat final, repeat champion.
Serena Williams slugged to a hard-fought 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1 victory over
Victoria Azarenka in the final of the U.S. Open Sunday.
The top-seeded American won the Grand Slam event for a fifth time, which is
tied with Margaret Court and Steffi Graf for the fourth-most all-time.
Williams, who won the French Open this year, gained her 17th Grand Slam title.
That's one shy of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the fourth most in
history. Court is the all-time leader with 24 such championships.
The second-seeded Azarenka, who lost in three sets in the 2012 final, fell to
3-13 all-time against Williams.
Williams secured the late break to go ahead in the opening set at 6-5 when
Azarenka sent a backhand into the net. Williams then polished off the set in
58 minutes when Azarenka delivered a wide forehand.
The second set saw Williams bolt to a 4-1 lead after Azarenka committed a
double fault. Azarenka stormed back and leveled the set after 10 games, but a
backhand into the net allowed Williams to break serve for a 6-5 edge.
Williams double-faulted to force the tiebreaker and Azarenka moved the match
into a third set after Williams sent a backhand long.
"I thought I have to stay positive. It was very easy to get down," Williams
said. "I didn't want to get down on myself. I wanted to be a little strict
with myself so I could play better. I wanted to do different things and try to
have a better performance."
But in the final set, Williams secured a service break for a 3-1 lead and then
another one for a dominating advantage before Azarenka sent a backhand long to
end the match.
"We gave it all this year and we showed our hearts, we gave it everything we
got," Azarenka said.
Aside from winning the U.S. Open last year, Williams also titled in Flushing
Meadows in 1999, 2002 and 2008. She and Azarenka have combined for sixth of
the last eight Grand Slam championships.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open this year, failed to become the first
Belarusian woman to win the U.S. Open.
"There was no letdown. I think it was the moment in the third set that the
momentum changed a little bit, and I kind of felt like I lost that momentum,"
It's the 55th career title for Williams, including nine this year. She's now
72-9 overall at the Open.
She overcame 35 unforced errors, eight more than Azarenka.
"The wind was unbelievable today. It just got worse and worse. It just never
let up." Williams said. "But at this point you have to be able to play under
any circumstances. It wasn't very easy. I think I made a lot of errors because
The powerful American is a sizzling 67-4 overall this year. Not only did
Williams win the $2.6 million first-place prize, she also claimed an
additional $1 million as a result of capturing the U.S. Open Series.
"I think my dad got me into tennis because of the money, but me being naive
and silly, I never thought about it," Williams said. "I just thought, I want
to win. I wanted to do what Venus does. I want to win and I want to do more
and I want to do more. To this day I have never ever picked up a check in my
life. I remember back in the day before wiring they used to mail it because I
just would forget it. So, yeah, I didn't pick it up tonight."
Because she finished second in the U.S. Open Series, Azarenka gained an extra
$250,000 for the runner-up placement.
"Vika is such a great opponent," Williams said. "She's such a great fighter,
and that's why she's able to win multiple Grand Slams."
09/08 22:49:30 ET