Serena Williams started off strong in her match against rival Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. Open on Sunday but faltered in the second set and gave Azarenka–who had beaten Williams twice before–the lead. Williams came back strong, but only after battling heavy winds on the court and nearly coming to tears in frustration.
Williams had some wardrobe issues as her skirt fought with the windy conditions, and she even declared at one point, “I can’t play in this wind.” After several flubbed shots, she actually flung her racket to the side of the court in anger. In the end, however, she composed herself at the last minute to take home her fifth U.S. Open title and win 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-1. The top-seeded Williams now has 17 Grand Slam singles titles, putting her within shouting distance of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
Azarenka, who is friends with Williams off the court, came away with no hard feelings today even though she fought just as hard for the title.
“It is a tough loss, but to be in the final and play against the best player — who deserves to win today — it’s incredible,” said Azarenka. “I gave it all today. We showed our hearts. We fought hard.”
Williams acknowledged how talented her opponent is and admitted that she had to battle for the win, for as much as she makes it look easy sometimes.
“Vika’s such a great opponent, such a great fighter,” Williams said, “and that’s why she’s been able to win multiple Grand Slams. That’s why it was never over until match point.”
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