Serena Williams won her fourth U.S. Open championship Sunday with a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 defeat of top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, completing a summer that also included a Wimbledon title and a gold medal at the London Olympics.
The fourth-seeded Williams, 30, of the U.S., who had not lost a set in the tournament until Sunday, had 13 aces as she came back after twice falling down a break in the third set.
Williams entered the tournament at the National Tennis Center in New York as the even-money favorite. The Las Vegas money line before the final gave Williams an 82 percent chance of beating Azarenka, according to RJ Bell of Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com.
Williams, who earned $1.9 million with the win to push her career winnings to more than $40 million, won her 15th Grand Slam singles title, leaving her fourth on the women’s list since professionals were admitted to tennis in 1968. Steffi Graf leads with 22, while Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova each won 18 singles titles. Margaret Court won 24, claiming 13 before the professional era.
After winning, Williams knelt on the court and said “Oh my God!” seven times to herself before going over to the players’ box for a kiss from her mom. Azarenka sat in her chair on court with a towel over her head.
The men’s final between defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia and third-seeded Andy Murray of Britain is set for Monday afternoon. It is the fifth straight year that the tournament has been extended to a Monday due to bad weather. The women’s final also was delayed a day.
In the 34-minute first set, Williams had 16 winners to two for Azarenka and the American did not face a break point. Azarenka turned things around in the second set, breaking Williams’s serve twice — after the three-time champion had won 48 of her first 50 service games in the tournament.
Azarenka got another service break in the third game of the final set, only to have Williams break right back to even the set at 2-2. Azarenka then had another service break to go up 4-3 and was serving for the match when Williams broke back again.
Azarenka, 23, who began the tournament with odds of 7-1 to win, had never advanced beyond the fourth round of the U.S. Open until this year. She was playing in her second Grand Slam final, having won the Australian Open in January.
Azarenka, who will retain her No. 1 world ranking despite the loss, was trying to become the first woman since Martina Hingis in 1997 to win the Australian Open and U.S. Open in the same year.
Williams, who turns 31 in 17 days, is the oldest U.S. Open winner since the 31-year-old Court in 1973. She has lost once since a first-round elimination at the French Open in May.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.