Serena nets US Open hat-trick
NEW YORK (AP):
Serena Williams ended a difficult-for-her Grand Slam season in the best way possible, winning her third consecutive US Open championship and 18th major title overall.
And like each of her matches at Flushing Meadows the past two weeks, the final wasn't close at all - a 6-3, 6-3 victory over good friend Caroline Wozniacki that lasted only 75 minutes yesterday.
Williams equalled Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 Grand Slam singles titles, the fourth-most in history. Williams also matched Evert's total of six championships at the US Open and became the first woman to win three in a row since Evert's four-title run from 1975-78.
Not only did Williams, ranked and seeded No. 1, win all 14 sets she played in the tournament, she never even dropped more than three games in any of them. Her first major trophy also came in New York, in 1999, when she was 17.
"It is a pleasure for me to win my first Grand Slam here and then this No. 18," Williams said, her voice choking. "So I'm really emotional. I couldn't ask to do it at a better place."
Williams earned $4 million, a record in tennis - $3 million for the title, plus a $1 million bonus for having had the best results during the North American summer hardcourt circuit.
Only three players have more Slams to their credit: Margaret Court with 24, Steffi Graf with 22 and Helen Wills Moody with 19.
Williams broke Wozniacki's serve five times and compiled a hard-to-believe 29-4 edge in winners.
"You really deserved it today. You played better than me," the 24-year-old Wozniacki said.
"You're an unbelievable champion and you're an inspiration to me, both on and off the court. You're an unbelievable friend - and you definitely owe drinks later."
They've been pals for years and they hung out together in Miami - heading to the beach, watching an NBA playoff game - after both lost early at the French Open in May. Wozniacki says Williams helped her get over the end of her engagement to golf star Rory McIlroy.
"We text almost every day. She's such a great person, a nice friend," Williams said, before turning to address Wozniacki.
"I know you're going to be winning very, very soon, maybe even Australia," Williams said, referring to the next major tournament, in January. "So I've got to go home and get fit again so I can be ready for you there."
The friendship between Williams and Wozniacki did not matter one bit, of course, while they played with so much at stake as early evening shadows moved across Arthur Ashe Stadium.
As Williams put it beforehand, referring to her older sister: "If I can play Venus, I can play anybody".
Sure looked that way yesterday.