After capturing her fourth U.S. Open crown by defeating Victoria Azarenka in three sets, Serena Williams made a loud statement that she is still elite, and possibly one of, if not the best women's tennis player in the world.
It's been a long road back to the top for Williams. Most recently, her 2011 season was plagued with injuries, which resulted in her having to pass on the Hopman Cup and Australian Open.
To make matters worse, she admitted that she was once hospitalized because of a pulmonary embolism in February of last year.
But after a very triumphant 2012 season, Williams has bounced back with authority once again. Here's two reasons why she should still be considered one of the elite women's tennis players in the world.
She has returned to her winning ways
Winning has been somewhat of a theme for Williams as of late. Before her victory over Azarenka in the U.S. Open, she took home the crown at Wimbeldon in July for both singles and doubles, as well as the 2012 Olympics in London.
With the U.S. Open being her 15th major title, she now ranks sixth on the all-time list. And at 31 years old, that number can continue to grow, especially when considering how well she has played as of late.
You have to beat the best in order to be the best
Azarenka was as unbeatable as it gets coming into the championship match in the U.S. Open. She was the No. 1 player in the world and took home the crown at the Australian Open earlier this year.
In fact, she was undefeated in matches that went three sets this year (12-0) before her loss to Williams in the U.S. Open.
But what made this victory impressive was that Williams had to claw her way back. She was down 5-3 in the final set, then went on a tear to win the final four games.
It wasn't a dominant performance by Williams, but it was a gutsy one that was needed if she was going to upset the top player in the world in New York.
When healthy, there isn't anyone in the world who is better that Williams, and she proved why after beating the best in the U.S. Open.
If Williams happens to take home the crown in the Australian Open in January of 2013, I don't think there will be any debate about it.
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