World No.1 Azarenka waves goodbye to near victory, Serena wins fourth US Open title

Serena Williams was just seventeen when she won her first Grand Slam, at the very stage of the US Open, and now as a 30-year-old she's triumphant yet again, defeating world No.1 Victoria Azarenka 6-2 2-6 7-5 in the final and winning her 15th Grand Slam singles title and her fourth at the US Open.

In the beginning it looked like Azarenka would end up just like all the other Serena's opponents, crushed, but in the second set the Belarusian put all her assets on display, taking the match to the thrilling third set, in which she earned an early lead and later even served for the match, but it's not over til it's over, especially when Serena is on the other side.

En route to her 60th career final, Williams lost just 19 games and spent an average of just one hour and eight minutes on court per match, and after the first set against Azarenka, it seemed that the numbers wouldn't build up much after the final either. Serena opened with a dominant 6-2 first set, closing it out by breaking Azarenka's serve to love, while Azarenka barely won more than one point in Serena's service games.

The situation changed completely in the second set, though. Azarenka lifted her game, Serena's forehand went off, and the Belarusian saw herself leading 5-1 and quickly winning the second set, mirroring the first-set scoreline, 6-2. Now the things got complicated, especially as we knew Azarenka's 12-0 record in three-set matches this season.

The momentum stayed on Azarenka's side in the beginning of the decider. She saved two break points in the excellent second game and followed it with a break of Serena's serve for a 2-1 lead. However, Serena managed to break back and then consolidated the mini comeback by holding serve, aided by her 12th and 13th aces of the match. And just as you would think that this was what Serena needed to storm back, Azarenka leveled to 3-3 and broke Serena to love for a 4-3 lead. Whether nerves crept in or not, when given the opportunity to serve for the championship, Azarenka piled up errors and went down 0-40 on her serve, allowing Serena to break for 5-5. As you could guess, you only get as many chances by Serena, and before you knew it, Serena was celebrating and Vika was drowning in sourness. I'm sure that the fact that she contributed to this US Open final being one of the best Grand Slam women's finals in the recent history must be of little consolation for Azarenka.

In the first round the fourth-seeded Williams defeated Coco Vandeweghe 6-1 6-1, in the second Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2 6-4, Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-0 in the third, Andrea Hlavackova 6-0 6-0 in the fourth, Ana Ivanovic 6-1 6-3 in the quarters, Sara Errani 6-1 6-2 in the semis, and finally Azarenka, for the 10th time in their 11 career meetings.

Our predictor Omair got both the semifinals right and now it turns out that he's right again – Serena won in three sets. Great job, Omair!

Additional info: This was the first three-set US Open final since 1995! Also, note that this US Open final is breaking the sequence of seven different champions in the past seven Grand Slams. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)

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5 thoughts on “World No.1 Azarenka waves goodbye to near victory, Serena wins fourth US Open title

  1. Zech

    WHOOOOO SERENA!!!

    She had me sweating bullets there in the 3rd. But Vika…. what a joy to watch her compete. I don't think she choked as big as some people would have you believe. She came up against a champion like herself, who has more experience and more game. Hard to stay focused with that in mind, never mind a grand slam title on the line.

    I think Vika will be the next dominant champion, and especially so if she can improve her serve. She has all the other goods.

    But back to Serena, so happy for her. She has now matched Venus 2000 summer, with wins at Wimbledon, Olympic Gold in singles and doubles, and the US Open. But Venus went on with her 35 win streak that summer…. hopefully that'll motivate Serena more. *sarcasm* (:

  2. Mirjana

    Wow, i'm really bad at prediction :D Congrats to Serena, Vika definitely had a chance, but it was Serena and her errors that were actually keeping her in this match. All in all, great match, and one of best finals for the past few years.

  3. Lisa Marie

    I am a huge Serena fan but even I thought that she had blown it. Why I ever doubted her, well I don't know. I never will again. Serena is a true champion and I think we will wait a long time to see the likes of her again. Victoria played amazingly well especially after the Olympics but Serena is so strong, dominant and competitive. I cannot believe she is still only ranked No4 in the world.Congratulations Serena you deserve all the success you have. Long may it continue!

  4. Des Platt

    Serena Williams is an all time great; probably the all time great in absolute tennis terms. I'm sorry to say that as a sports women, she will always be remembered for her bad behaviour on a couple of occasions and her lack of sportsmanship which spoiled Sam Stosur's great victory last year.

  5. Lita Wolf

    Uh, Des Platt, Serena's had a 16 or so year career, and she's had 2 issues during that long career. You yourself said "a couple of occasions." You act like those 2 incidents were "normal" behavior for her. They are not. As much of a fan as I was of John McEnroe, he STAYED in trouble his whole career. Jimmy Connors anyone? Jimmy even admitted in an interview something to the effect that he wished he HAD only 2 incidents in his career like Serena had. He rightfully said this whole thing is overblown, and it is. As a Serena fan, I in no way ever condone her behavior during the 2 incidents, and felt the fine she received in 2009 was justified as was the fine in 2011. However, no one seems to remember the horrible time Serena went through in 2004 during the semi-finals when she was CHEATED during that match against Jennifer Capriati (J. Cap by the way didn't show great sportsmen-ship herself during that match). In fact, That match was SO badly refereed, they (USTA) sent a letter of apology to Serena stating they were sorry. Justine Henin quit during Amalie Mauresmo's crowning moment during the finals of the 2006 AO Open, and I don't hear people dogging Justine out about that. Bottom line is that YOU have NO idea what you're talking about, and who are YOU to judge Serena on the actions of 2 incidents during an excellent 15 year career? PLEASE.

    Go peddle your "ignorance" somewhere else.

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