Australian Samantha Stosur, the number nine-seed at the 2011 U.S. Open, saved her best for last as she upset 28th-seeded American Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-3 Sunday in a surprisingly lopsided win to earn the 2011 U.S. Open Championship. The title is Stosur's first-ever Grand Slam title.
“I think I had one of my best days,” Stosur said. “I’m very fortunate to do it on this stage.”
Hitting powerful strokes from the baseline, and looking fresher than Williams throughout, Stosur became the first Australian woman to win a major championship since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. By winning the U.S. Open, Stosur also became the third consecutive first-time Grand Slam winner after Li Na won at the French Open, and Petra Kvitova won Wimbledon.
“She played really well. She’s a great player, and it’s good to see,” Williams said in her post-match press conference. “I tried my hardest and she kept hitting winners and I was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing?'"
Stosur made few mistakes, finishing with 12 unforced errors to Williams’ 25.
This match also marked the latest dispute between Serena Williams with an official at Flushing Meadows.
After dropping the first set, Williams was serving at 30-40 to start the second set. She hit a forehand and shouted, “Come on!” as Stosur reached down for a backhand. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki ruled that Williams hindered Stosur’s ability to complete the point and awarded it to Stosur—putting her ahead 1-0 in that set.
Williams went over to talk to Asderaki, saying, “I’m not giving her that game.”
Williams also said: “I promise you, that’s not cool. That’s totally not cool.”
Some fans began booing, delaying the start of the next game, as both players waited for the commotion to subside. U.S. Open Tournament Director Brian Earley said Asderaki’s ruling was proper. But Williams had trouble putting the whole episode behind her. During the changeover two games later, Williams continued to talk to Asderaki, saying, “You’re out of control. … You’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside. … And I never complain. Wow.”
Williams also told the official: “Really, don’t even look at me.”
When Stosur wrapped up the match with a forehand winner, Williams refused the customary post-match handshake with the chair umpire.
“I hit a winner, but I guess it didn’t count,” Williams said during the trophy presentation. “It wouldn’t have mattered in the end. Sam played really well.”
Asked after the match about being awarded the point because of Williams’ shout, Stosur said: “I was just kind of there, realizing what was happening. It had never happened to me before. I was trying to see what was happening. I’m aware of the rule. Obviously, it was something I’d never had to deal with before.”
A poor call during Williams’ 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati was cited as a main reason for the introduction of replay technology in tennis.
"I'm still kind of speechless ... I can't actually believe I won this tournament," said Stosur. "I guess to go out there and play the way I did is obviously just an unbelievable feeling, and you always hope and want to be able to do that, but to actually do it, is unbelievable."
Credit all photos to Kenneth B. Goldberg
Queen Latifah sings the National Anthem before the start of the 2011 U.S. Open Women's Finals
A visibly upset Serena Williams had issues with the officials throughout her U.S. Open Finals match with Samantha Stosur
Samantha Stosur during her 2011 U.S. Open Finals match at Arthur Ashe Stadium
2011 U.S. Open finalists Serena Williams and Samantha Stosur share a post-match laugh