No.15 for Serena

Serena Williams
Serena Williams Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

This time there were no tantrums, no rows with officials, no penalties. Serena Williams, whose last two US Opens had ended in defeat and controversy, kept her nerve to win her home Grand Slam tournament for the first time for four years here last night. The 31-year-old American beat Victoria Azarenka, the world No 1, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to claim the 15th Grand Slam singles title of her career.

It was the first time that a US Open women's singles final had gone to three sets for 17 years. Women's Grand Slam finals have regularly disappointed over the years, but this was a match full of drama, swings of momentum and top-quality ball-striking, even if there were also plenty of mistakes as both players - and Williams in particular - sometimes let the occasion get the better of them.

Williams' victory, which followed her fifth Wimbledon triumph earlier in the summer, ended a run of seven successive Grand Slam tournaments won by different players. Her fourth title here came a full 13 years after her first. In the Open era no other woman has won Grand Slam tournaments over such a length of time.

There was a time when Azarenka regularly stumbled at the latter stages of Grand Slam tournaments, but the world No 1 has been a changed character in the last 12 months. Along with her improved physical power, she has shown much greater mental strength.

Azarenka saved four break points in her first service game, but put a backhand long on the fifth. Williams was 3-0 up in 10 minutes, met brief resistance as Azarenka held serve twice, but made a second break to take the set in 34 minutes, finishing off with two crunching backhand winners.

As Williams had won all her previous matches here this year in straight sets - in an average of 68 minutes - the crowd were probably expecting her to run away with the match. Azarenka, however, soon made it clear that she was up for a fight.

Azarenka broke in the opening game of the second set and again in the fifth, which she opened with a wonderful running forehand winner down the line. At 5-2 and 30-30 the Belarusian hit two successive unreturned serves to win a set against Williams for the first time in their last six encounters.

Williams served her way out of trouble in the first game of the third set but could not do the same two games later as Azarenka took the lead for the first time in the match. Her advantage did not last long. Williams, hitting some huge winners, broke back immediately and after hitting her 11th ace to take a 3-2 lead bellowed out a blood-curdling cry of "Come on!"

Azarenka, however, kept pressing. When Williams served at 3-3 the American played a dreadful game. From 0-15 she served a double fault, mishit a backhand and appeared to tighten up badly when she put a forehand long on Azarenka's first break point.

Williams, nevertheless, held on when she served to stay in the match at 3-5 - at one stage she was two points from defeat - and in the following game broke Azarenka as the Belarusian's nerve finally appeared to crumble.

After Williams had held to lead 6-5, it was Azarenka's turn to serve to keep her title hopes alive. After she had hit a forehand long to give Williams match point, the American closed out victory when the Belarusian put a backhand long.

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci maintained their remarkable season by winning the women's doubles title. The Italian pair, who beat the Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-2, also won the French Open title and were runners-up in the Australian Open. This was the eighth doubles title they have won this year.

Topics:  serena williams us open (tennis) victoria azarenka

Police investigate head-on collision

Two people were seriously injured in a head-on collision at Yamba on Saturday, 22nd October, 2016

Two people seriously injured in crash at Yamba

VIDEO: Lucky Meteor strikes back at Grafton

RECORD RUN: Lucky Meteor sprints clear to win the Bloomer Transport and Warehousing Jacca Prelude at the Clarence River Jockey Club yesterday.

John Shelton trained sprinter blitzes Grafton track in record time

OPINION: Memories of Dreamworld as the safe place

Queensland Emergency service personnel are seen at amusement theme park Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. It has been confirmed that the four adult victims who became trapped on a conveyor belt at the theme park after a raft they were in flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday afternoon, have since died. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

Dreamworld was always the safe place to have big fun

Local Partners

WATCH: Junior Queen gets silver screen royal treatment

NEW documentary explores the festival's 20-year-old quest as former candidates share their stories and experiences.

Tea party with the 'Queen'

TRADITION: 1955 Jacaranda Queen Stella Wilson sits with reigning 2015 Jacaranda Queen Charlotte White at last year's Jacaranda Afternoon Tea.

Meet the royal patyu in style

Making steps for 'Blacky' in Walk 4 Brain Cancer

Grafton locals are doing a Walk 4 Brain Cancer in Sydney for Robert Black.

Team Blacky aims to better $5000 to battle brain cancer.

Sound of Music star to compere An Afternoon at the Proms

This photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment shows, from left, Chairmian Carr, as Liesl, Nicholas Hammond, as Friedrich, Heather Menzies, as Louisa, Duane Chase, as Kurt, Angela Cartwright, as Brigitta, Debbie Turner, as Marta, Kym Karath, as Gretl, and Christopher Plummer, as Captain Von Trapp, in a scene from the film, \"The Sound of Music.\" The 1965 Oscar-winning film adaptation of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical \"The Sound of Music\" is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2015. To honor the milestone, 20th Century Fox is releasing a five-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD collector's edition, the soundtrack is being re-released, the film will be screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood later this month and to over 500 movie theaters in April. (AP Photo/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Saraton's rich history of stage and screen honoured in musical tribu

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.