Serena Williams defeated world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in a three-set thriller to win her fourth title at the U.S. Open on Sunday.
Williams strolled into the final without dropping a single set, while Azarenka had to battle through the exhausting quarterfinal against 2011 champion Sam Stosur and semifinal against Russia’s Maria Sharapova.
It looked like the final would continue in the same vein for the 30-year-old Williams after she took the first set, making 16 winners against Azarenka’s two.
However, the Belarusian star found the strength to storm back to win the second, sending the final into the decider for the first time since 1995.
The 23-year-old Azarenka was on the verge of winning her first U.S. Open trophy when she was serving for match at 5-4 up in the decider, but then it was Williams' turn to surge back and snatch a thrilling 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 victory.
Williams became the first player to win the U.S. Open in three different decades, with 13 years passing since her first triumph at Flushing Meadows in 1999.
"Yeah, three decades - the '90s, 2000s, 2010s, that's kind of cool. It's exciting to have this opportunity. And 13 years is a long time between the first and the last,” Williams said.
Azarenka was frustrated with the victory that slipped away through her fingers, but still had no regrets of her performance at the tournament.
"Could it have gone my way? Probably, yes. But it didn't. And it really, really hurts. It was still a great achievement. I feel proud of myself in one way, but still sad,” the top-ranked player said.
"Serena produced some amazing tennis today. For me she's the greatest player of all time. She took the game to the next level."
The men’s final will see reigning champion Novak Djokovic try to defend his title from Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray later Monday.