Serena Williams wins 2012 U.S. Open championship, overpowers No. 1 Victoria Azarenka

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September 10, 2012

Serena Williams was staring defeat in the face, just two poitns away from a loss, but rebounded in electrifying fashion to win the last four games and the US Open crown.

Serena Williams hugs the U.S. Open trophy after vanquishing Victoria Azarenka Sunday.

September 10, 2012

Serena Williams was staring defeat in the face, just two poitns away from a loss, but rebounded in electrifying fashion to win the last four games and the US Open crown.

Serena Williams hugs the U.S. Open trophy after vanquishing Victoria Azarenka Sunday.

Clearly, these were the two best women tennis players in the world going at it inside Ashe Stadium in the U.S. Open final, and the winner would become the legitimate No. 1 for 2012, no matter what data the stupid computer spits out on Monday.

And really, it could have gone either way on Sunday. First, Victoria Azarenka was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set, and then she was serving to try and stay in the match with a suddenly reawakened Serena Williams.

You’ve probably heard by now: The Summer of Serena ended with her victory, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, her 15th major title and the perfect coda to a season that included a Wimbledon championship and two Olympic gold medals.

It wasn’t perfect tennis, and it certainly wasn’t as easy as everyone thought. The match was dramatic, though, that’s for sure. These women’s finals at the U.S. Open are notorious for becoming flat, one-sided affairs – there hadn’t been a three-set final since 1995 – and that’s the way this final began, too. Williams, who had beaten Azarenka nine out of 10 times, required just 34 minutes to take that first set.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a rote rout. Azarenka tamed her forehand for a while, out-rallied Williams on most of the longer points, and suddenly the American started making some very careless mistakes.

Williams was guilty of 45 unforced errors in this match, mostly by trying for too much. She wasn’t as sharp as she’d been recently, yet she was aiming for the lines just the same.

Sernea Williams jumps for joy after winning the 2012 U.S. Open.

The second set was lost, and then suddenly Williams was broken at love in the seventh game of the third set on three groundstroke errors and a double fault. Azarenka wasn’t giving her much, either. It was falling apart out there, in full view of the shocked spectators.

“I was preparing my runner-up speech,” Williams said on court afterward. “I was thinking, ‘Man, she’s playing so great.'”

Instead, Williams broke back and the match ended on three successive errors by Azarenka, which was unfortunate. Within one point of a tiebreaker, she netted a backhand, then sailed a forehand and a backhand long.

Williams, relieved and jubilant, fell flat on the hardcourt, then leaped five times, then, after coming to the net to shake hands, climbed up on a flower pot to hug her mom. Azarenka slumped in her seat. She appeared to be sobbing under the towel draped over her head.

You look at the stat sheet and must wonder how Azarenka managed to stay on the court for 2 hours, 18 minutes. The Belarusian had zero aces, compared to Serena’s 13. She had a total of only 13 winners, while Williams pounded 44. Then again, Williams also struck those 45 unforced errors, which means this was not exactly her finest effort.

Serena Williams shakes hands with Victoria Azarenka (l.) at the net.

That would be nit-picking, however, considering Williams’ astounding comeback this year since her first-round French Open debacle. When the points were most important on Sunday, Williams was at her most accurate. That’s all that mattered. That, and the Grand Slam count. She is closing in on Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who have 18 major titles apiece, now within reach.

Williams is an immortal, and a few returns into the net against Azarenka isn’t going to change that.

“At the moment it’s tough, but Serena showed what kind of champion she is,” Azarenka said. “I’m just honored standing with this kind of champion. I definitely gave it all today. Stepping off this court today I will have no regrets.”

Williams, who turns 31 this month, won the $1.9 million winner’s check, won another shiny championship cup. She is supposed to be the No. 4 player in the world according to that computer, yet we know differently.

Serena will keep playing this sport at the highest level for as long as possible, because she adores the limelight and enjoys more than anything the sight of Venus and her family together in the player’s box.

Serena lets out a primal scream in celebration.

It’s important she hang around, keep winning, prop up American tennis. It was good to hear the crowd cheering her on for a change. Maybe it was only because it appeared for much of the third set she would lose. Or maybe the fans finally realized what kind of story they have been watching in front of them.

After Serena, the abyss.


Courtesy: nydaily