• US Open, Day 14

Serena snatches US Open crown from Azarenka's grasp

ESPN staff
September 9, 2012
Serena Williams was stretched by Victoria Azarenka © PA Photos

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Serena Williams capped a golden summer as she battled back from the brink of defeat to clinch her 15th grand slam title with victory over Victoria Azarenka at the US Open.

Williams twice went behind in the deciding set, but dug deep to claim a thrilling 6-2 2-6 7-5 victory at Flushing Meadows to add a fourth US Open title to her victories at Wimbledon and London 2012 earlier this year.

As she did last season, Williams arrived at Flushing Meadows in red-hot form and entered the final as the overwhelming favourite, but after being denied by Sam Stosur last year, she got her hands on the trophy, but only after a scare.

Azarenka looked well beaten after she was outplayed in the opening set, but roared back to force a third set, and served for the match before Williams rallied to snatch victory.

Azarenka, who came through two battling wins over defending champion Stosur and Maria Sharapova to reach the final, soon found herself on the back foot as she faced break points on her opening service game. She saved two - but when a misjudged leave saw Williams' lob land inside the baseline, the American converted her third break point to take an early lead.

The world No. 1, who had beaten Williams on one occasion in ten previous meetings, got a morale-boosting service hold to keep herself in the opening set, but struggled to find any openings on her opponent's serve. A glimmer of an opening for Azarenka was swiftly slammed shut by Williams, as the American held for 4-1 lead, and she broke once again to wrap up the opening set.

With Williams threatening to run away with the match, Azarenka needed to find a response, and fast. And she got it after she was gifted a route back into the match after a double fault from Williams.

A confident service hold saw Azarenka consolidate her advantage, and as the final began to heat up, the Belarusian fended off break points before running away with the second set as the women's final in New York went the distance for the first time since 1995.

Azarenka carried her momentum into the third set, soaking up Williams' power to grab an early break in the third, but she was soon pegged back by Williams, who levelled at 2-2.

Williams looked like she would be left to rue 45 errors, including five double faults as she once again handed the advantage back to her opponent, but as Azarenka served for the match she suffered a case of the jitters, and Williams pounced to break back before claiming a second successive break to wrap up victory after two hours and 18 minutes.

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