Serena Williams battles for fifth U.S. Open win, 17th overall major

Serena Williams hugs her trophy after winning the U.S. Open on Sunday. Credit: Getty Images
Serena Williams hugs her trophy after winning the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

Up a set and two breaks on Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open women’s final, it seemed to all the world that Serena Williams was on cruise control.

But a gutsy Azarenka rallied and staged a remarkable comeback to win the second set in a tiebreak, only to eventually fall to Williams and her indomitable will, 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1, in 2 hours, 45 minutes Sunday evening in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

When Azarenka sailed a backhand return long on Williams’s second match point, the top-seeded Williams jumped up and down in celebration, having won her 17th career Grand Slam singles championship, fifth U.S. Open and second straight in Flushing Meadows over Azarenka.

It was Williams’s second major title this year following the French Open, cementing her position as the world No. 1.

“Vika’s such a great opponent, such a great fighter and that’s why she was able to win multiple Grand Slams,” Williams said on court as she flashed a huge smile. “It was never over until match point.”

The capacity crowd of more than 22,000 included Bill Clinton, Amar’e Stoudemire, Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried and Billie Jean King.

Williams’s 17th major moved her into a tie with Roger Federer — the all-time men’s leader — and one behind icons Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, winners of 18 apiece. Margaret Court is the all-time women’s leader with 24 majors.

Williams also picked up $3.6 million, including a $1 million bonus for winning the U.S. Open series leading into the tournament.

“Money has never been my motivation with tennis,” Serena said before the final. “I have always just played to win Grand Slams.”

Williams improved to 13-3 all-time against No. 2 Azarenka and 8-0 in majors.

“It is a tough loss but to be in the final, play against the best player who deserved the win today, it’s incredible,” Azarenka said. “I gave it all again this year. We showed our hearts, we gave it everything we got. We fought hard and congratulations, Serena.”

Trailing by a set and a double-break at 1-4, it seemed all but over for the 24-year-old from Belarus.

But a gutsy Azarenka fought back to 6-all by breaking Williams twice late in the second set, sandwiched around her own broken serve in the 11th game. With the wind swirling and gusting in the tiebreaker, Azarenka served for the set at 6-5 in the breaker, but smacked a forehand into the net, giving Williams new life.

With Williams serving at 6-7, she sailed a backhand long, giving Azarenka the set and forcing a decisive third.

On air, ESPN’s John McEnroe called Azarenka’s second-set comeback “remarkable.”

Steeling herself, Williams fought back in the third set, breaking Azarenka for a 3-1 lead when Azarenka double-faulted on break point.

Azarenka was then broken again to go down 1-5 when she hit a low forehand into the net, enabling Williams to serve for the match.

Williams, whose serve improved as the match progressed, closed it out on her racquet. She finished with nine aces and five double faults, while Azarenka served up seven doubles against two aces.

Williams will turn 32 on Sept. 26 and her time atop the women’s game will not last forever. Yet she can tie Evert and Navartilova for fourth on the all-time list by winning the Australian Open in January.

With a couple of majors per year over the next few years, she could easily challenge Steffi Graf (22) and Court atop the all-time list.

“She’s obviously an amazing player, she’s the greatest of all time,” Azarenka said before the final.

Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter @AdamZagoria for updates on the U.S. Open.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.