Williams had much to celebrate and her jumps and screams of joy radiated around the Billie Jean King Tennis stadium and around the world as she landed just one short of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all-time list of greats.
The match was tougher than she’d expected, but Williams prevailed as the U.S. Open champion, again — for the fifth time. The win continues one of the best years of Williams’ career, in which she has gone 67-4 and won nine tournaments.
Still she admitted after: “Vika’s such a great opponent; she’s such a fighter. It was never over until match point.”
After the match, Williams and Azarenka embraced at the net.
Azarenka for her part told the crowd that Williams had been the better player and deserved to win.
“We showed our hearts,” Azarenka said.
Williams told Azarenka she’d played “unbelievable” and it had been an honor to play her.
The two had faced off here last year in another three-set thriller, which Williams won, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.