NEW YORK (AP):
Two points from defeat, Serena Williams suddenly regained her composure to come back and win the last four games, beating No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 yesterday for her fourth U.S. Open title and 15th Grand Slam title overall.
"I honestly can't believe I won. I really was preparing my runner-up speech, because I thought, 'Man, she's playing so great'," Williams said during the trophy presentation, adding: "I'm really shocked."
"Serena deserves the win. She showed how true a champion she is," Azarenka said. "I definitely gave it all today. Stepping out of this court today, I will have no regrets."
As the third set started, Williams' mother, Oracene Price, told her from the stands, "Settle down".
When Williams double-faulted, slapped a bad backhand into the net and pushed a forehand long, Azarenka broke at love for a 4-3 edge, then followed that up by holding for 5-3.
Azarenka was two points away at 30-30 with Williams serving in the next game, but couldn't convert. And when Azarenka served for the victory at 5-4, she showed the jitters that probably are understandable given that this was only her second career Grand Slam final, 17 fewer than Williams.
Azarenka made three errors in that game, including a forehand into the net that let Williams break her to five-all. Williams kept whatever excitement she might have felt contained, face straight as possible, while her older sister, seven-time major champion Venus, smiled and clapped in the stands.
That was during a key stretch in which Williams took 10 of 12 points to go ahead 6-5. She then broke again to win, dropping on to her back on the court when Azarenka sent a backhand long to end it.
Williams, who turns 31 on Sept. 26, is the first 30-year-old woman to win the U.S. Open since Martina Navratilova in 1987.
Men's final today
In the men's final today, defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face Olympic champion Andy Murray of Britain. It's the fifth consecutive year the tournament will conclude on Monday instead of the scheduled Sunday because of bad weather.
Djokovic beat David Ferrer of Spain 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a semi-final that was halted in the first set because of impending rain Saturday and wrapped up yesterday.