Serena Williams won her fifth US Open title in a thrilling final against Victoria Azarenka at Flushing Meadows.
World number one Serena Williams, 31, overcame a determined opponent and a testing wind to win 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 and repeat last year’s final victory against the Belarusian.
Serena Williams has now won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, moving her to within one of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, and seven short of Margaret Court’s record total of 24.
But after letting a double-break lead slip in the second set, and twice failing to serve out the match, Serena Williams was made to dig as deep as in any of her 16 previous major wins.
“Vika’s such a great opponent, such a great fighter and that’s why she’s been able to win multiple Grand Slams,” Serena Williams said of Victoria Azarenka after their contest.
“That’s why it was never over until match point.”
Victoria Azarenka, 24, had beaten Serena Williams twice this year, the last time in Cincinnati on the eve of the US Open, and clearly believed she could defeat the American on a bigger stage.
Serena Williams looked in ominously good form when she cracked a backhand cross-court to break in the opening game, but a couple of errors gave the advantage straight back.
Victoria Azarenka was dealing better with the gusting wind on Arthur Ashe Stadium and serving well, in marked contrast to Serena Williams, who also had to cope with a skirt that was clearly not designed for such conditions.