Sport

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



Youth speak out online to start mental health conversation

SHARING STORY: Connor Tarrant is trying to help promote mental healthfor young people.

Connor Tarrant wants to help others by sharing his story online

Luke Douglas ends record-breaking NRL career

Titans player Luke Douglas takes the ball forward during the round 14 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Canterbury Bulldogs at CBus Stadium on the Gold Coast, Sunday, June 14, 2015. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Prop forward set to make switch to St Helens

Get ready to rock out in the clover at Pillar Valley

The Ninth Chapter will head to Pillar Valley on Sunday to join the local talent lining up for Rocktober in the Clover.

Get ready to Rocktober in the Clover on Sunday

Local Partners

Kim Kardashian West wants restraining order against prankster

She was attacked by Vitalii Sediuk for the second time in two years

Caravana Sun and friends set to shine at Yamba

GROOVE: Caravana Sun are set to rock Yamba Golf Club on Friday, September 30 along with friends Nocturnal Tapes and Nick & Sam.

Caravana Sun and friends set to shine at Yamba

Cliff Richard to release 101st album

Sir Cliff Richard's album cover

Sir Cliff Richard is to release his 101st album

Justice Crew: Grafton to host one of only seven shows

Pop sensations Justice Crew are heading to the Clarence next on Thursday, October 6 o perform their new show It's What We Do.

Justice Crew brings new show to Saraton Theatre

CMC Rocks faces fan backlash over date change, headliners

The 10th annual CMC Rocks festival will be headlined by The Dixie Chicks.

FANS are not happy about festival being pushed back by two weeks.

Kim Kardashian West attacked by man trying to kiss her bottom

Vitalii Sediuk targeted Gigi Hadid last week

Clarence Valley property prices go through the roof

Buyers are hungry to sink their teeth into the Clarence Valley

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction