Williams withstood a gutsy second-set comeback to author a dominant third set and take her fifth U.S. Open and 17th Grand Slam title in her historic career.
The wind was wreaking havoc on players on Sunday, but it was still an entertaining day of great tennis. That started with the men's doubles final where Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek took the top spot.
Check out the scores, and then I'll recap the action.
|Serena Williams||defeats||Victoria Azarenka||7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1|
|Men's Double Final|
|Leander Paes, Radek Stepanek||defeats||Alexander Peya, Bruno Soares||6-1, 6-3|
Williams opened up strong by breaking Azarenka in the first game of the match. However, she appeared hesitant in the wind and Azarenka was the more aggressive and accurate early player. She used that to help her get back onto serve as she broke Williams in the next game.
Williams missed shots she normally doesn't, and she wound up hitting 15 unforced errors in the first set and 53 percent of her first serves.
Still, the two held serve for the majority of the first set.
Azarenka took a 5-4 lead into Williams' service game, and the two engaged in a fierce battle for the pivotal game.
With the two locked at deuce, Williams took a couple of advantages while Azarenka battled to force another deuce. Finally, after nine minutes and 30 seconds, Williams ended the game to tie things up at five.
In that win, something appeared to click for Williams. It was as if the nerves and concerns over the wind faded behind the intensity of competition.
Williams earned the break in the next game and then closed out the set on her ensuing service game. She went on to hit 15 winners to Azarenka's nine in the first set.
The victory in the first set put Williams in a nice position:
With momentum on her side, Williams stormed to a 4-1 lead in the second set. The 31-year-old was moving well and definitely had her power game working:
However, Azarenka was not quitting. She battled back and earned a break to move the score to 4-2.
That was an impressive bit of fortitude from the two-time major champ. It was just the game before where she gave away her service game with two straight double faults.
Azarenka wasn't done there either. She earned the rare break of Williams' serve not once, but twice as she got back onto serve.
However, all that hard work was for naught as, just like in the first set, Williams broke Azarenka to take a 6-5 lead.
Still, looking a little nervous, Williams blew her chance to serve out the tournament when she double faulted to head into the tiebreak—which isn't surprising given the battles these two have played this year:
So all three hard court finals between these two this season have gone to at least one tiebreak. Here we go. #usopen— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) September 8, 2013
And what a tiebreak it was. Azarenka wrestled a 6-4 lead in the tiebreak. Serena then leveled it at six only to lose the next two points. This was the first set Williams had lost all tournament.
It was a stunning comeback for Azarenka.
Unfazed, Williams came out strong in the second set while Azarenka may have been feeling the burn from her epic comeback.
Williams stormed out to a 5-1 lead to once again have an opportunity to serve out the championship. This time, she didn't let that opportunity pass her by. She won the third set 6-1 and took the title.
Men's Double Final
Leander Paes added to his remarkable doubles career by teaming up with Radek Stepanek to win his eighth major title on Sunday.
The pair took down Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, 6-1, 6-3, in a dominant final.
The match almost felt anti-climatic. Paes and Stepanek cruised and were coming off their epic three-set defeat of the Bryan brothers, which prohibited the brothers from completing their fourth Grand Slam title of the year.