Photo: Paul ZimmerUS Open women's singles champion Serena Williams (USA)
Serena Williams tied Roger Federer for Grand Slam wins after seeing off Victoria Azarenka in an entertaining US Open final to win her 17th major title.
The world No.1 triumphed in New York for a fifth time after defeating the Belarusian 75 67(6) 61 in a repeat of the 2012 final, and now sits level with Federer and just one behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for Grand Slam singles crowns.
“It's an honour to be even with Roger,” said Williams. “He's been such a great champion throughout the years, and he's just an unbelievable competitor and he's still playing, and he can probably still win more.
“It feels really good to be, you know, in that same league as him. He's just been so incredibly consistent, so we have had really different careers,” she added, smiling.
Williams had the chance to make her mark in the history books earlier than she did. She twice served for the second set, but twice let the advantage slip away as Azarenka seized the chance to force a decider.
“I think I got a little uptight [in the second set], which probably wasn't the best thing at that moment,” admitted Williams. “I wasn't playing very smart tennis then, so I just had to relax and not do that again.”
That’s exactly what the 31-year-old world No. 1 did, gliding through the decider to end her Grand Slam year on a high in New York. The victory was the perfect reply to a fourth round defeat to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon on her last Grand Slam outing.
“I felt almost disappointed with my year, to be honest,” said Williams. “I felt like, yeah, I won the French Open, but I wasn't happy with my performances in the other two slams, and, you know, not even making it to the quarterfinals of one.
“So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year.”
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek took the men’s doubles title after outclassing Bruno Soares and Alexander Peya 61 63.
“This one is actually really, really special,” said 40-year-old Leander Paes, who also won the 2012 Australian Open alongside Stepanek.
“Today is my 31st final, and this young man next to me is probably the best partner I have had. I really enjoy traveling with him, working with him, playing with him, working hard to be better.”
Croatia also had cause for celebration on Sunday after seeing No. 4 seed Borna Coric take the boys’ singles title with a 36 63 61 victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Ana Konjuh take the girls’ crown after defeating Tornado Ali Black 36 64 76. It was a second junior Grand Slam for Konjuh, who also triumphed at the Australian Open in January.
“It was really good year,” said Konjuh. “I had really some good results. Australian and US Open and ITF circuit. And I'm really happy. I want to practice even more to be even better.”