American Serena Williams defeated top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 on Sunday evening to capture the 2012 U.S. Open women's singles championship. In addition to the Gold Medal she won at the 2012 London Olympics and the Wimbledon title she won in early July, Serena's win Sunday was the 15th time she has won a Grand Slam title, which puts her in fourth place in the Open Era for most Grand Slam titles (Steffi Graf leads the list with 22, while Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova are tied with 18 each). Serena has won the Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 & 2010), one French Open crown in 2002, five Wimbledon titles (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010 & 2012) and four US Opens (1999, 2002, 2008 & 2012).
The Serena-Azarenka match was the first U.S. Open women’s final that went three sets since Graf defeated Monica Seles in 1995, and today's victory was Serena's fifth straight victory against the world number one-ranked Azarenka.
"Oh my God. I honestly can't believe I won," said Serena on-court after her win. "I was really prepared for my runner-up speech, because she was playing so great. I'm really shocked right now."
Serena took control of the first set, but seemed to lose that control in the second set, as Azarenka broke her in the opening game as Serena's unforced errors began to mount. Serena was two points from defeat, but regained her composure to come back for the win.
"Serena really deserved to win," said Azarenka after the match. "She showed how true of a champion she is, and I'm honored to stand with such a champion. At the moment, it's tough but I gave it my all, and stepping off this court I will have no regrets."
Azarenka now has a 1-1 record in Grand Slam finals, having won the Australian Open earlier this year.
Credit all photos to Kenneth B. Goldberg
Serena Williams captured her 15th Grand Slam title Sunday night in her U.S. Open finals win over Victoria Azarenka
Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka is now 1-1 in Grand Slam finals matches in 2012 after her loss on Sunday to Serena Williams