Top seed Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to clinch her fifth US Open title in a thrilling final at Flushing Meadows, New York.
World number two, Azarenka played with zeal and determination on the Arthur Ashe Stadium but it was the American who conquered with a 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1 victory in two hours and 46 minutes.
The victory, which is her third Grand Slam title of 2013, also meant the 31-year-old has clinched her 17th Grand Slam finals title, one short of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, and seven short of Margaret Court’s record total of 24.
Williams told Mary Carillo of CBS after the match: “I definitely felt the love, so thank you all so much. It’s an honour to play in New York.
“Vica is such a great opponent, such a great fighter and that’s why she’s been able to win multiple Grand Slams.
“It was never over until match point.”
Williams struggled with the gusty wind in the beginning of the match as the skirt she was wearing got the way of her racquet with each swirls.
Both 1st and 2nd top seed players traded service breaks at the beginning of the game. Tied at 4-4 in the first set, the Belarusian surged ahead with a superb service game, winning with a wicked drop shot that the American couldn’t reach. But Williams won the next three games including break in Azarenka’s serve to claim the first set 7-5.
After Williams broke Aazrenka’s serve in the beginning of the second set, the 24-year-old Belarusian wiped a superb serves ace of 114 and 119 mph. And when she double faulted on her terrific serve to hand Williams her second break it seemed all over.
But she fought back impressively from a 4-1 deficit to 6-6, winning the tiebreak to take the second set- hanks to some few unforced error on the top seed’s part.
Azarenka allowed Williams get a service break in the fourth game of the decider as Williams regained the edge and delivered her most wicked service ace of the match in the fifth game (126mph). The Belarusian double faulted again in the sixth game to put Williams 5-1 up before the 2012 winner ensured he served out the repeat of his triumph in front of the 23,000 spectators.