Serena Williams to Face Jelena Jankovic in Istanbul Semis


Serena Williams

(October 25, 2013) Serena Williams will face off against Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals of the WTA Championships in Istanbul on Saturday while Li Na will play Petra Kvitova.

No. 4 seed Li Na earned her semifinal berth with a 6-2, 6-1 win on Friday over Victoria Azarenka who was suffering from a back injury. Li won the White Group with a perfect 3-0 record.

2011 WTA Championships winner Petra Kvitova, came back against Angelique Kerber 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

Defending champion Serena Williams has a 7-4 career edge against Jankovic. Li and Kvitova are even at 3-3 in head-to-head meetings.

The Williams-Jankovic match-up will be just the second time that two thirty-somethings are in the final four of the year-end championships.

Not in  action on Friday, Williams accepted her award for finishing 2013 with the top ranking for the third time. Williams also finished as the year-end No. 1 in 2002 and 2009.


Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships

Results – Friday, October 25, 2013
White Group
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 62 61
(6) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 64

Red Group
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 67(3) 62 63

Order Of Play – Saturday, October 26, 2013
Center Court (from 13.00hrs)
1. Petrova/Srebotnik vs. Hsieh/Peng
2. Li Na vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 15.00hrs)
3. Serena Williams vs. Jelena Jankovic
4. Errani/Vinci vs. Makarova/Vesnina


Serena Williams First to Reach Istanbul Semifinals


(October 24, 2013) Serena Williams completed round-robin play at the WTA Championships in Istanbul with a perfect 3-0 record in the Red Group without dropping a set as she defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday in 72 minutes. She improved her record against the Czech to 5-0.


Williams dominated Kvitova in every way. Williams hit 27 winners, hit 11 aces, fought off all four break points against her, won 15 straight points in one part of the match and won 18 consecutive points on her serve at one point.


The 32-year-old defending champion is three wins behind Martina Navratilova, who holds the record of 21 straight wins in the WTA Year-End.

Williams is having a career year going 76-4 with 10 titles in 2013. She trying to become the first woman to defend the year-end event title since Justine Henin in 2007. The world No. 1 is bidding to win her 4th WTA Championships crown. Henin was also the last women to win 10 titles, also in 2007.

Despite the loss, Kvitova who is 1-1 in the Red Group still has a chance to advance to the semis, should she defeat Angelique Kerber in group play on Friday.

Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships

Results – Thursday, October 24, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 62 63
(8) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 62 62

White Group
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 26 63

Order Of Play – Friday, October 25, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Victoria Azarenka vs. Li Na
2. Petra Kvitova vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Sara Errani vs. Jelena Jankovic


Serena Williams Sails, Jankovic Shocks Azarenka in Istanbul


Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

(October 23, 2013) Top seed Serena Williams remained undefeated in Red Group play while No. 2 Victoria Azarenka fell to former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the White Group on Wednesday at the WTA Championships in Istanbul.


Williams was too much of a force for Agnieszka Radwanska as she dismissed her 6-2, 6-4 in the last match of the day. Williams increase her perfect record over Radwanska to 8-0. Williams has only ever lost one set to Radwanska and that came in the 2012 Wimbledon final.


Williams who is 2-0 in round-robin play will match up against undefeated Petra Kvitova next. Williams is 75-4 for 2013.


The upset contest of the day belonged to Jelena Jankovic who downed Azarenka 6-4, 6-3, breaking a four-match losing skid against the Belarusian. Jankovic is coming back into the form that made her a top 10 player. She’s back in the top ten for the first time since 2011, currently ranked No. 8.


Azarenka has struggled since reaching the finals of the US Open, falling in the opening rounds of Tokyo and Beijing. She also struggled in her first round-robin match in Istanbul, a three-set win over Sara Errani.


In more White Group action, Li Na opened up Wednesday’s play with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over Sara Errani. Li was forced to rally from a 1-3 deficit in the second set, as well as the tiebreak to move past Errani. Li’s record against Errani is now 6-0.


The top two records in each group  will advance to the semifinals.


Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships

Results – Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 62 64

White Group
(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 64 63
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (6) Sara Errani (ITA) 63 76(5)

Order Of Play – Thursday, October 24, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Li Na vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Serena Williams vs. Petra Kvitova


Serena Williams Crushes Kerber in Opening Match in Istanbul

Serena Williams

(October 22, 2013) No. 1 Serena Williams demolished Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-1 to begin her quest to defend last year’s WTA Championships title and to win her fourth year-end title. Kerber is one of only a few women to beat Williams in the last two years when she bested the American in Cincinnati in August of 2012.

Kerber told media that Williams was playing “unbelievable” and that she had no chance.

Williams is having a banner year going 74-4 with 10 titles so far in 2013. She trying to to be the first woman to defend the year-end event title since Justine Henin in 2007. Henin was also the last women to win 10 titles, also in 2007.

Williams has passed the $10 million mark in prize money for the year. Should she defend the title and go undefeated she would surpass the $12 million dollars for the year.

In the final match of the day, 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4.


Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships

Results – Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Red Group
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. (8) Angelique Kerber (GER) 63 61
(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 64 64

White Group
(2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (6) Sara Errani (ITA) 76(4) 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Li Na vs. Sara Errani
2. Victoria Azarenka vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Serena Williams vs. Agnieszka Radwanska


Azarenka Pushes Past Errani to Lead Off WTA Championships


By Andrew Jones

(October 22, 2013) After the first seven games of the match in the first match at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, it seemed Sara Errani was ready to show again to any of her critics why their negative comments about her are still unbelievably foolish.


With her all court skill and savvy at just 5’4, Errani’s level of shotmaking and versatility became the main story of the first set instead of Victoria Azarenka‘s search to reclaim her top two form. But as the case with Errani, having even two breaks leads in a set against the elite is not a guarantee for her, as the Belarusian came back to score a satisfying opening win, 7-6 (4), 6-2.


Down 5-2 in the first set, Azarenka found her consistency with her usual depth that was absent the first seven games. It came in the nic of time, as she started to anticipate Errani’s top class dropshots and raise her own level of serve to turn around the match.


Errani was clearly crushed that she couldn’t serve out the first set with two opportunities, as she ended the first set tiebreak with a brutal second double fault of her serve to give Azarenka the full escape out of trouble. That was a precursor to how the second set would go, as Errani’s ailing calf and achilles on her right leg were prevalent to all. She called for the trainer twice and received one medical timeout, but the 5th ranked player did not have any plans to retire from the match.


It will be interesting to see if Errani will play her remaining two matches in the White Group, especially with her having the first match again Wednesday against Li Na. With her and Roberta Vinci in the doubles’ semifinals, it would not be a surprise to see Caroline Wozniacki replace Errani as the first alternative.


Meanwhile for Azarenka, it was the type of tricky test she needed in order to end her three match losing streak. Errani is as eclectic as any top 10 player (and that includes Agnieszka Radwanska), and the world number two is fully cognizant of the fact that she won’t face anyone else as capricious as the diminutive Italian. She showed terrific movement and no signs of any ailments and showed, even on the notoriously slow indoor surface at the Sinan Erdem Dome, that she is still the favorite right after Serena Williams.


Andrew Jones is a freelance sports, political, and music journalist. He is also the founder and publisher of The Whole Delivery (twd4u.com). Follow him on twitter.


No. 1 Serena Williams Set to Begin WTA Championships Defense on Tuesday

Serena Williams Beijing

By Andrew Jones

(October 21, 2013) In a perfect world, the tournament would be named “The Serena Williams Year End Coronation Exhibition.” But out of respect to the seven other ladies in attendance, the WTA Championships will conclude its lovely three year relationship with the city of Istanbul starting Tuesday.

The famous Turkish city has been a terrific host for the WTA Championships, a major upgrade from past hosts like Los Angeles, Berlin, and Madrid after the tour decided to leave New York City’s Madison Square Garden a decade ago. But with the Chairman and  CEO Stacey Allaster moving its championships to Asia (and virtually every other tournament it seems nowadays) to Singapore for next year, it will be a bittersweet tournament for the locals who have given the year end finale a great temporary home.

And it was clearly the home for the world No. 1 last year with her dominance to win her second year-end championships without dropping a set, and Williams the younger is projected by most to do the same. However, with Victoria Azarenka back after an ugly Asia swing for her with ailments and illness all over, the always solid Agniezska Radwanska, and the reemerging force that is Petra Kvitova still here to give it their all in the last tournament of the year, Williams will still have to play well enough to close a banner 2013.

Three of those four players mentioned there are in the same group, with it fittingly called the red group as an in-form Angelique Kerber rounds out their formidable foursome. Like Kvitova, Kerber has had a good fall campaign after a mostly terrible season and has done well to surge into the last spot ahead of Caroline Wozniacki and Sloane Stephens, who are alternatives. And she beat Radwanska, who was flat after winning Seoul the week prior, in the Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo) before Radwanska returned the favor on her friend at the China Open (Beijing) in the instant rematch. Kerber also played Kvitova in Tokyo in the final, and the quality all-lefty battle went to the Czech, as both women have located needed momentum for 2014.

Still, all three women are playing for second place in the group, as an even fogged challenge, easily frustrated, and slightly ailed Williams was still good enough to win the China Open going away. With her loving indoors too, like her old red group members, taking a set off Serena in the group stages and the whole week in general is going to be a difficult task.

It’s a scenario that the four members in the white group thankfully don’t have to deal with for their own relief, as Azarenka headlines a quartet not as formidable as their red counterparts. The world number two’s own problems since that dramatic US Open final with Serena will either be vanished or still apparent when she plays the championships’ opening match against the always game Sara Errani, who has done quite well  to make the last eight for a second consecutive year. The former doubles and best friend duo of Li Na and Jelena Jankovic complete the group and will feel they have a strong chance to make the semifinals in Istanbul.

Not to be forgotten are the final four teams in doubles, with the aforementioned Errani and Roberta Vinci set to close out their latest No. 1 year in style. But they will face stern challenges from the superb Asian duo of Peng Shuai and Su-Wei Hsieh, who have grown into a world class team, the accomplished veteran pair of Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, and the talented, eclectic Russian combination of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

In a perfect world, this tournament would be called “The Serena Williams Year End Coronation Exhibition.” But that would be boring and thankfully we don’t live in a perfect world. But the year-end championships giving Istanbul and the 2013 season the perfect sendoff would be a perfect week, regardless of whoever wins.


RED GROUP (seed in parentheses)

(1) Serena Williams (USA)

(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE)

(8) Angelique Kerber (GER)



(2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

(4) Li Na (CHN)

(6) Sara Errani (ITA)

(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB)


Predictions from Andrew Jones:

Red Group Top 2: Serena Williams and Aga Radwanska

White Group Top 2: Victoria Azarenka and Li Na


Final: Serena Williams defeats Aga Radwanska 


Doubles winner: Peng Shuai and Su-Wei Hsieh


Andrew Jones is a freelance sports, political, and music journalist. He is also the founder and publisher of The Whole Delivery (twd4u.com). Follow him on twitter @sluggahjells.


Istanbul, Turkey
October 22-October 27, 2013
$6,000,000/Season-Ending Championships

Order Of Play – Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Center Court (from 17.00hrs)
1. Victoria Azarenka vs. Sara Errani
2. Serena Williams vs. Angelique Kerber
3. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Petra Kvitova


Draws Made for TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul


(L-R) Sara Errani of Italy, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, Serena Williams of USA, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Li Na of China, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, and Angelique Kerber of Germany pose with the Billie Jean King trophy for the official photo of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for WTA).

(L-R) Sara Errani of Italy, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, Serena Williams of USA, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Li Na of China, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, and Angelique Kerber of Germany pose with the Billie Jean King trophy for the official photo of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for WTA).

(October 20, 2013) The WTA Championships begin on Tuesday in Istanbul. The singles draws where made on Sunday and are as follows:

RED GROUP (seed in parentheses)

(1) Serena Williams (USA)

(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

(5) Petra Kvitova (CZE)

(8) Angelique Kerber (GER)



(2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

(4) Li Na (CHN)

(6) Sara Errani (ITA)

(7) Jelena Jankovic (SRB)


2012  champion Serena Williams is trying to become the first player to defend the year-end championships since Justine Henin did it in 2007.


Defending China Open Champ Victoria Azarenka Done in by Double Faults and Andrea Petkovic


(September 30, 2013) BEIJING – Double faults and erratic play were the undoing of defending China Open champion and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka on Monday. She lost to Andrea Petkovic 6-4 2-6 6-4 in first round play in Beijing.

To go along with 15 double faults, Azarenka hit 44 unforced errors and appeared to still be suffering from the effects of an illness she had during last week’s Tokyo event where she lost in the second round.

“I don’t take the last week even as a tournament,” she continued.

“If I’m going to be doing it again, I probably should have taken a longer break and just prepare myself.  I don’t feel like I was ready to play ‑‑ there is no excuse ‑‑ to be 100%, but the preparation wasn’t there enough, so I cannot deny that.

“It’s just my mistakes for not paying much attention after the US Open how I managed my time and how I managed my health.  I mean, today’s match is today’s match.  I felt good.  I didn’t have any issues, but overall, that comes maybe.  There is no excuses.”

“It was an awful match and very bad performance from me, so not much to say,” Azarenka said.

“It happens once, twice a year to every player, and happened to me today.”

Andrea Petkovic

Andrea Petkovic

Petkovic appeared ill in the second set when she had to take a medical time out. She lost seven games on the trot and the Belarusian evened up the match at a set all.

In the third set both women traded breaks but it was Azarenka’s 15th double fault coming on break point as she was serving in the ninth game which cost her the game. The German served out the match after that.

“I’m going to come back, reevaluate, practice more,” Azarenka said in response to the loss.  “I just needed more preparation, and that’s what I’m going to get now before the last tournament.”



Beijing, China
September 28-October 6, 2013

Results – Monday, September 30, 2013
WTA Singles – Second Round
(5) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Misaki Doi (JPN) 63 62
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 63 63

WTA Singles – First Round
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 64 26 64
(8) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 16 64 60
(14) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 76(9) 61
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 61 61
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 63 62
(Q) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) 64 61
(Q) Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Monica Puig (PUR) 61 64
(Q) Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. (Q) Sharon Fichman (CAN) 64 63
(WC) Zhang Shuai (CHN) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 63 63

WTA Doubles – First Round
Lisicki/Medina Garrigues (GER/ESP) d. (5) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) 64 16 103 (Match TB)
(8) Black/Mirza (ZIM/IND) d. Date-Krumm/Scheepers (JPN/RSA) 63 63
Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) d. (WC) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) 67(3) 64 119 (Match TB)
Soler-Espinosa/Suárez Navarro (ESP/ESP) d. (WC) Sun/Zhang (CHN/CHN) 76(4) 60
Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. (WC) Shvedova/Zhang (KAZ/CHN) 63 36 105 (Match TB)
Hantuchova/Raymond (SVK/USA) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 75 63
Dushevina/Parra Santonja (RUS/ESP) d. Husarova/Kalashnikova (SVK/GEO) 62 63

ATP Singles – First Round
[WC] L Hewitt (AUS) d [7] T Haas (GER) 76(6) 63
B Tomic (AUS) d [WC] Z Zhang (CHN) 76(4) 64
[Q] R Bautista Agut (ESP) d G Dimitrov (BUL) 64 62
F Fognini (ITA) d T Robredo (ESP) 75 46 63
P Kohlschreiber (GER) d A Montanes (ESP) 75 16 76(4)

ATP Doubles – First Round
[3] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) d [WC] Y Lu (TPE) / D Wu (CHN) 64 63


Venus Williams Upsets Victoria Azarenka in Tokyo

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

(September 24, 2013) Venus Williams upset top seed Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-4 to move into the third round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Tuesday.

“She didn’t seem like herself at all,” Williams said of her opponent to press after the match. “I could tell she wasn’t feeling her best. I am not sure what was bothering her but I hope she feels better.”

Azarenka said that she did not sleep last night and noted that she had not been well for a couple of days.

Williams will play No. 13 seed Simona Halep who beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the third round.

Tokyo, Japan
September 22-28, 2013

Results – Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Singles – Second Round
Venus Williams (USA) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 62 64
(2) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 76(5) 60
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (3) Sara Errani (ITA) 64 64
(4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 62 63
(6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 64 61
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) d. (9) Sloane Stephens (USA) 57 76(7) 63
(11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 63 60
(12) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 63 76(2)
(13) Simona Halep (ROU) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 76(4) 63
Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK) d. (14) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 62 63
(15) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (WC) Misaki Doi (JPN) 61 62
(16) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (Q) Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 75 63
Madison Keys (USA) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 75 62

Doubles – First Round
(1) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Hantuchova/Raymond (SVK/USA) 63 61
(WC) Flipkens/Kvitova (BEL/CZE) d. (2) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) 76(3) 36 108 (Match TB)
(3) Jankovic/Srebotnik (SRB/SLO) d. Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) 46 63 102 (Match TB)
(4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. Aoyama/Moulton-Levy (JPN/USA) 64 62
Chan/Huber (TPE/USA) d. (WC) Date-Krumm/Parra Santonja (JPN/ESP) 64 62

Order Of Play – Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Magdalena Rybarikova vs. Caroline Wozniacki
2. Eugenie Bouchard vs. Jelena Jankovic
3. Venus Williams vs. Simona Halep (NB 14.00hrs)
4. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Agnieszka Radwanska (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Angelique Kerber vs. Ana Ivanovic


Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Sorana Cirstea
2. Madison Keys vs. Petra Kvitova (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Lucie Safarova vs. Samantha Stosur
4. Groenefeld/Peschke vs. Black/Mirza


Serena Williams Wins US Open for 17th Major Title

2012 US Open

(September 8, 2013) No. 1 Serena Williams won her 17th career major by defeating windy conditions and No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the finals of the US Open 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1  on Sunday evening.  It’s her fifth US Open title. Her 17th major title ties her with current ATP player and men’s all-time grand slam leader Roger Federer and puts her one behind Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova tied at 18 in fourth place, behind Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) among the women. At 31, Williams became the oldest woman to win the US Open.

“It’s an honor to be even with Roger,” Williams said.  “He’s been such a great champion throughout the years, and he’s just an unbelievable competitor and he’s still playing still, and he can probably still win more.

“So it feels really good to be, you know, in that same league as him.  He’s just been so incredibly consistent, so we have had really different careers.

“Then to be compared with Crissy and Martina, not yet, because I’m still not quite there yet.  I can’t necessarily compare myself to them, because, you know, numbers‑wise they’re still greater.”

“It’s always awesome and such a great honor, because I don’t know if I’ll ever win another Grand Slam,” the 17-time major winner said.  “Obviously I hope so.  I say that every time I win one.”

The win gives her a second straight US Open title. She also won US Open crowns in 1999, 2002, and 2008. She also beat Azarenka last year in the final. It’s Williams’ second major title of the year, she also won the French Open in June.

“I felt almost disappointed with my year, to be honest,” Williams said..  “I felt like, yeah, I won the French Open, but I wasn’t happy with my performances in the other two slams, and, you know, not even making it to the quarterfinals of one.

“So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year.”

Both women exchanged breaks to begin the match, both adjusting to the extremely windy conditions. Both women gained control of the their serve and held until the eleventh game when Williams broke the 24-year-old Azarenka coming back from 40-15 down to take a 6-5 lead. Williams held at love to capture the first set 7-5. Azarenka was within 2 points of taking the first set on four separate occasions.

Williams opened the second set with a break, and went up a double break to 4-1. The Belarusian Azarenka broke Williams and held to get to 3-4. Serena sealed her 5-3 service game with a 119 mph serve.

Williams served for the match a 7-5, 5-4, only to be broken by Azarenka to even the set at 5-5.  Williams broke right back to take a 6-5 lead  to serve for the match a second timeand was broken again by Azarenka which sent the second set to a tiebreak.

In the tiebreak, Williams led 3-1, only to see her lead vanish and Azarenka take a 6-4 advantage. Williams saved two set points against her but Azarenka fought back and won the nest two points to win the set. 7-6(6).

Williams rebounded from a love-30 start to hold her opening game in the final set. In the third game Azarenka double-faulted to give Williams the break and a 3-1 lead. Williams gained an addition break in the fifth to move to a 5-1 lead.

“I wish I could do something better today,” Azarenka said.  “I felt like I had opportunities in the first set, as well.  But, I mean, it’s okay.  It goes that way.  I did everything I could.

“The game overall, there are things could have been better.  But, you know, I gave my heart.  I fought as hard as I could.

“So that’s what, you know, is important for me, that, you know, I lost to a great champion, but I still gonna have my head up.”

Williams held  and closed the match to win it 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-1.

At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it was the longest women’s US Open final match since 1980.

“I think the third set, even though the score was 6‑1, was much closer,” Azarenka noted.  “I had a lot of opportunities that I didn’t convert.  She took those opportunities really well.

“So that’s more of the story that I feel happened.  Not that, you know, that big gap of the 6‑1.  Even in the last game, you know, last couple of games I had break points and stuff.

“Yeah, just, you know, looking back, I’ll just really taking good notes.  There is no other way than going out there and working hard again, you know, to practice and keep going again.”

Azarenka was asked about playing in such windy conditions: “It’s not the wind.  It’s not the sun.  It’s about the match.  You know, it’s about the ball.  You try to do whatever it takes to win the point with whatever circumstances you’ve got to go through.

“But, yeah, it wasn’t pleasant.  It wasn’t nice.  Skirts were always, you know, lifting up.  You had to pull it down all the time.”

“The wind was unbelievable today,” Williams agreed. “It just got worse and worse.  It just never let up.

“But at this point you have to be able to play under any circumstances.  It wasn’t very easy.  I think I made a lot of errors because of that.”

Coming into the match Azarenka had a 31-1 record on hard courts, the best record on that surface for the year.

The win pushes up the American’s prize money for the season to over 9 million dollars, the first woman in tennis ever to do it.  Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had done it previously. Her career earnings will now pass 50 million dollars.

Williams earned a $3.6 million prize for her victory, including a $1 million bonus for winning the Emirates US Open Series after having the best results over the summer.

“I don’t play tennis for the money,” Williams explained.  “I honestly love to play.  I love Grand Slams.

“When I grew up playing tennis in Compton, I just never thought about any of this.  I didn’t think about the press.  I didn’t think about ‑‑ I didn’t even know all this came with everything.

“I think my dad got me into tennis because of the money, but me being naive and silly, I never thought about it.

“I just thought, I want to win.  I wanted to do what Venus does.  I want to win and I want to do more and I want to do more.

“To this day I have never ever picked up a check in my life.”

Williams praised Azarenka on court after the match:”What a great match and what a great person. Vika’s such a great opponent; she’s such a fighter. It was never over until match point.”

“We showed our hearts,”  said the runner up Azarenka.

Williams hit nine aces during the match, one at 126 mph. She lead in winners against Azarenka 36-17. Williams leads the WTA in titles in 2013 with nine, a career best for her. She now has a 2013 match record 67-4 on the year.

“I did everything I could. I fought as hard as I could. But I lost to a great champion,” said Azarenka in her post match news conference.

“I’m just gonna take the best out of what happened today, because there are a lot of positive things,” Azarenka continued.  “What’s negative is the result.

“But to take overall, you know, to see how much you rise to the occasion compared to the other matches, I think it’s pretty remarkable.  And the challenge that is in front of me is only gonna make me more motivated.

“I think, you know, we showed today that, you know, woman’s game is really, really competitive.”

“I have been to finals the last three years here, and that’s been really kind of cool,” Williams said. “You know, I never thought I would win Australia five times. That’s been really cool. Wimbledon is a little different. But, you know, this one I never seem to have won a lot before. Now I’m like, yes, I can finally say I have won this one a few times, too. Overall, it feels really good to have those multiple titles in each of those three, actually.”

Williams’ win mark her 55th career tournament title. She ties Virginia Wade and Lindsay Davenport for seventh place on the Open Era list.