New York, Sep 9 (IANS) World number one Serena Williams of the United States won her fifth US Open title after beating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 6-1 here at the Flushing Meadows.
The defending champion collected her second Grand Slam crown of the year Sunday after winning the French Open earlier. It was the 17th overall Grand Slam title for the 31-year-old, reports Xinhua.
Her 17th Grand Slam title put her even with men's legend Roger Federer.
"It's an honour to be even with Roger," said Williams. "He's been such a great champion throughout these years, and an unbelievable competitor and he's still playing, and he can probably win more."
Williams outperformed her seven years younger opponent in serving. She powered as many as nine aces with the highest serving speed at 126 miles per hour, which was even faster than Rafael Nadal's 123 in his semi-final meeting with Richard Gasquet.
Williams entered Sunday's final without losing a single set. The seven-time US Open finalist had won 24 consecutive games before losing one to fifth seed Li Na in the second set of semi-final, and dropped only sixteen games in six matches.
However, Azarenka proved she was Williams' biggest challenge at the tournament.
The 24-year-old Belarusian broke Williams after losing her own serve in the first set, and was tied with the world number one until 5-5.
Azarenka didn't hold serve in the eleventh game, seeing Williams serve out the first set 7-5.
The second set started with a 4-1 lead for Serena, but Azarenka fought back. The Australian Open champion broke twice to level the score 5-5, and broke another game to force a tiebreak.
The second seeds got two set points in hand when the tiebreak score was 6-4. Williams saved to set points to up 6-6, only to see Azarenka win two consecutive points to end the tiebreak 8-6.
Both players seemed to be tired after the one hour-10-minute second set, but Williams turned out to be the more energetic one. The big server took another 4-1 lead in the final set, and this time refused to let go her lead, winning the next two games to end the two-hour, 45-minute match 6-1.
"I obviously would have preferred to close it out in straight sets, but going against a great opponent like Victoria, you have to realise that is tough," said Williams.
Azarenka missed the chance to collect a second Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open. It was her eighth meeting with Serena Williams at Grand Slams, and she has lost all of them.
"I gave my heart. I fought as hard as I could," said Azarenka.