Serena Williams survived a spirited comeback from Victoria Azarenka to claim her fourth US Open title on Sunday night at Flushing Meadows. Williams won her fourth US Open and 15th Grand Slam title in a 6-2 2-6 7-5 result over World No.1 Azarenka, atoning for her loss to Australian Samantha Stosur last year.
In that encounter, Williams’ performance was marred by a nasty spat with umpire Eva Asderaki over a hindrance call, but this time around a determined Williams completed the win, although it was not without a few dramas. Serving powerfully, Williams stormed through the opening set, breaking her Belarusian opponent on two occasions as she also won 17 of a possible 23 points on serve.
Although Williams served six aces in the second set, it was also combined with 15 unforced errors as Azarenka returned fire, breaking twice herself as she levelled proceedings heading into what proved a dogfight of a third set. Williams may have won with serve in the first game of the third, but Azarenka took the lead as she broke her opponent in the third game, only for Williams to immediately break back.
Azarenka maintained her cool, however, and another break point eventually saw her lead 5-3 in the third with a title beckoning and Williams on the verge of losing a proud record of beating three other World No.1s in Grand Slam finals, having previously been too good for Martin Hingis (US Open 1999), Venus Williams (Wimbledon 2002) and Lindsay Davenport (Australian Open 2005). But that was the cue for Williams to step it up once again, winning her next four games to take the title.
At 6-5 down in the third set, Azarenka was serving to stay in the contest during the set’s 12th game and looked on the verge of doing so when she led 40-30. But a sterling cross-court return from Williams levelled it up at deuce once again and the American eventually claimed the title in a dramatic last few points.
After Azarenka had taken the advantage and lost it, the Belarusian produced a powerful serve that Williams only just managed to get back over the net. But with the entire court beckoning, Azarenka could only hit her shot marginally long, handing Williams the advantage.
A fault followed for Azarenka but Williams returned the second serve before Azarenka again sent a return long to hand Williams the crown.