Top seed Serena Williams put up a reassuring perfomance against Demark’s Caroline Wozniacki to win her 18th career Grand Slam title and a record-equaling sixth US Open title on Sunday.
The 32-year-old American cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win over the tenth seed to claim her third successive US Open titles, becoming the first woman since Chris Evert to complete three-peat (the latter won four straight in the 70s), as well as tying her compatriot for most titles in the Open Era.
The world number one’s triumph comes a couple of days after becoming the first player to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore, slated for October. Suffix it to say, after a disappointing start to the season, it all clicked when it mattered for Williams, who received a record $4m payout- the largest payout in tennis history. Lets break it down: $3m for her victory in Flushing Meadows and a bonus check of $1m for picking up the Emirates Airlines US Open Series on her way into the US Open.
Williams came up with 29 winners to 23 unforced errors, while her good friend and opponent Wozniacki finished with eight-time fewer errors, but produced just four winners.
The victory also means Williams now ranks fourth on the WTA all-time career list, tying Evert and Martina Navratilova for the second most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era; only Steffi Graf currently has four more titles.
“It’s a pleasure for me to win No.18 here,” said Williams during the trophy presentation ceremony. “I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”
Back to the business of the day, facing a close acquaintance has never been a problem for Williams, who has had to battle it out with sister Venus on several occasions- 8 times in major championship matches.
But with a close friend standing in between her moment of history, it would always boil down to the player with the most hunger for success, while the former world number one on her own part was trying to banish the under-achiever tag; her odd attribute since her time at the top in January 2012 as her wait for a first Grand Slam title tarries.
She said to her friend: “I’d like to say congratulations to Caroline. She knows the struggles I’ve been through – we text almost every day. Caroline I know you’re going to win one very soon, maybe even in Australia, so I’ve got to go home and get ready for you there!”
An uncharacteristic start to Sunday’s final had both players struggle to assert early dominance. But it was the top seed whose desire started to reflect, after fighting off break points to hold in the first game, followed by five straight break of serve.
Williams’ early hold developed into a major boost, as she fashioned out 15 winners to take the first set in 40 minutes.
The error count diminished quite some more in the second set. After she broke Wozniacki in the opening game, both players held serves for seven straight games, with Williams emerging from that streak of games to move up 5-3, a game away from retaining her title.
Without wasting time, she broke the Dane to seal it 6-3 6-3.
Wozniacki was gracious in defeat. She said: “First of all, congratulations to Serena, you really deserved it today.
“You’re an unbelievable champion and an inspiration to me on and off the court.
“I would also like to thank the crowd for being so amazing these two weeks. You guys have been supporting me through everything, and it wouldn’t be the same without you. Thanks to all of you.”
Williams also becomes the second oldest Grand Slam winner after Navratilova, who won Wimbledon in 1990 aged 33.