Serena Williams repeats as US Open champion
Updated: 2013-09-09 09:28
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus wipes her face as she sits by the winner's trophy (L) after being defeated by Serena Williams of the US in their women's singles final match at the US Open tennis championships in New York, Sept 8, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
But the Belarusian showed her fight and took advantage of a string of Williams errors to break right back for 4-2 and rode that momentum.
Twice Williams served for the match, at 5-4 and again at 6-5, but Azarenka rose up to defeat the American's serve and force a tiebreaker.
Williams raced to a 3-1 lead in the decider, but Azarenka won five of the next six points to seize a 6-4 lead and send the championship match to a third set when Williams belted a backhand long to lose it 8-6.
The third set stayed on serve until the fourth game when another double fault, her seventh of the match, sank Azarenka and handed Williams a 3-1 lead.
With the stadium crowd roaring their support for home-country favorite Williams, the American broke Azarenka two games later for good measure to make it 5-1 and then claimed victory when the Belarusian sent a backhand long on the second match point.
"Victoria, you played unbelievable," said Williams at the trophy ceremony.
"What a great match and what a great person. Vika is such a great opponent, she's such a great fighter. It was never over until match point," added Williams.
The top seed collected the $2.6 million top prize and pocketed an addition $1 million bonus for having won the US Open run-up series of tournaments.
Azarenka said she had been beaten by the better player.
"It is a tough loss. But the best player deserves the win today. I gave it all again this year," said Azarenka, who lost 7-5 in the third set to Williams in last year's final.
"We gave it everything we got."