Serena Williams defeated world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-2 2-6 7-5 in a dramatic US Open final on Sunday to capture her 15th career grand slam title and enhance her status as one of the greatest players the game has seen.
After trailing 5-3 in the final set, Williams battled back, reeling off the last four games in a row to seal her fourth title at Flushing Meadows.
After the last point, Williams dropped to the ground and let loose with a powerful yell. This was her first US Open title since 2008. Williams said during the trophy presentation:
“I honestly can’t believe I won. I really was preparing my runner-up speech, because I thought, ‘Man, she’s playing so great. I’m really shocked. I honestly prepared my runner-up speech.”
Prior to the Open final, Azarenka hadn’t dropped a three-set match all season, going 12-0 in matches that went the distance including victories over defending US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova in the semifinals on Friday. Said Azarenka, who won the Australian Open at the start of this year:
“Serena deserves the win. She showed how true of a champion she is. I definitely gave it all today. Stepping out of this court today, I will have no regrets.”
Sports Illustrated notes that Sunday’s match was the first US Open women’s final that went three sets since Steffi Graf defeated Monica Seles in 1995.
Williams, who turns 31 later this month, is the first 30-year-old woman to win the US Open since Martina Navratilova in 1987.