By Jane Voigt
Through wind, and more wind, plus a cameo jumbo-tron flash of Bill Clinton that came mid-game on her serve, Serena Williams survived to win her 17th major title at the U. S. Open this afternoon.
It is her fifth Open and the first time she has won back-to-back titles in New York.
The scoreline was 75 67(6) 61. It was the 19th time that the woman who won the first set won the title.
Serena’s 17th Major brings her within one all-time of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18. Serena has won 9 titles this year, now, which makes it her best year on tour.
The match was a exceptional display from the two best players in the world, and two top seeds. Each woman is a champion in her own right, and each was steadfast in her goal to win the most prestigious of tournaments … a Grand Slam.
Azarenka embraced the challenge as no other woman had done during the two weeks. She came out game-face on and never doubted her worth, will or commitment to the tough task ahead. Her serving stats from the previous matches were dismal. However, she reversed that trend today. She showed great courage when behind, too, coming from 4-1 down in the second set to pull out a tiebreak and throw the match into a third deciding set.
The tears she shed before the awards ceremony made perfect sense to a warrior who had gone for glory throughout the 2 hours and 45 minutes, yet came up short.
“It is a tough loss,” Azarenka told the fans whose applause delayed her from saying more. “But to be in the final and play the best was great. We fought hard. Congratulations, Serena.”
Azarenka earned $1.3 million plus $250,000 from winning second place in the U.S. Open Series.
Williams did not have an easy match, which countered the glide of all prior six rounds.
Her feet were stubbornly slow to adjust to the wild swirling winds that threw havoc at her from every angle. The frustration gripped her mind through to the end of the first set. Once there, she cracked the code of Victoria Azarenka and ran off 5 games, which still wasn’t enough to contain her opponent. Williams had to prove herself in the third.
“I felt the love,” Serena told fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium. “It’s an honor to play in New York. Thank you Jehova God. Thanks to everyone in that box over there. I love you. Love you. Love you.”
Williams earned $2.6 million plus $1 million for having won The U. S. Open Series. It is the biggest purse ever in women’s tennis.
Serena’s jump, jump, jumping showed everyone her overwhelming joy of triumph.