NEW YORK (AP) — Top-seeded Serena Williams won her fifth U.S. Open championship and 17th Grand Slam title overall by beating No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 in a windy final.
Williams, who turns 32 on Sept. 26, has now won the sixth-most Grand Slam titles in history and one less than Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Williams collected a $3.6 million prize, including a $1 million bonus for producing the best results during the North American summer hard-court circuit leading up to the U.S. Open.
Helped by nine aces, one at 126 mph (203 kph), Williams improved to 67-4 with a career-best nine titles in 2013. Since a first-round exit at the 2012 French Open, Williams is 98-5 with 14 titles, winning four of the past six Grand Slam tournaments.
“Vika’s such a great opponent, such a great fighter,” Williams said of Azarenka , “and that’s why she’s been able to win multiple Grand Slams. That’s why it was never over until match point.”
This one did not come easily, even though it appeared to be nearly over when Williams went ahead by two breaks at 4-1 in the second set. Williams served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 — only to have the gutsy Azarenka break each time.
This was a rematch of last year’s final, also won by Williams in three sets, and two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka provided another challenge with her big swings.
“It is a tough loss, but to be in the final and play against the best player — who deserves to win today — it’s incredible,” said Azarenka, who is from Belarus. “I gave it all today. We showed our hearts. We fought hard.”