Unstoppable Serena retains US Open crown

Age does not just weary the body, it can also affect the mind and the strength of your nerve, even when you are as great a player as Serena Williams.
The world No 1, nearly 32, suffered a major failure of resolve before finally summoning up the composure to win a fifth US Open title with an ultimately comfortable 7-5 6-7 6-1 victory over Victoria Azarenka.
Twice Williams failed to serve the match out in the second set and then let slip a lead in the tiebreak, before bearing down in the decider against a fading opponent.

Champion: Serena Williams beats Victoria Azarenka to win her fifth US Open title

Champion: Serena Williams beats Victoria Azarenka to win her fifth US Open title

 Rising to the occasion: Serena has equalled Roger Federer on 17 Grand Slam titles

Rising to the occasion: Serena has equalled Roger Federer on 17 Grand Slam titles

She has suffered two meltdowns in big matches here in the last four years with umpires and lines-people, so it was ironic that being foot-faulted in this match presaged the decisive breakthrough in the first set.
At 4-5 and serving she calmly accepted the call after straying over the baseline, took the game, and then broke her 24 year-old opponent against the overall run of play.
Once she had closed out the set she put behind her the initial anxieties about the wind, which had frequently left her looking flatfooted as she missed groundstrokes.
The second set originally seemed more straightforward, and when Azarenka twice double faulted to go 4-1 behind the contest looked to be over.

The blonde from Belarus is, however, at least as fierce a competitor as Serena and fired up her returns as she sensed the nerves seeping into her opponent.
She came storming back to 5-5 as the American tightened in sight of the finish line and failed to serve it out at 5-4 and again at 6-5.
That forced a tiebreak, in which the American got a mini-break up for 3-2 before again struggling to keep the ball in the court. She angrily smashed her racket into the concrete as the second seed took five of the next seven points.
She imposed her will after breaking for 3-1 and Azarenka went quietly – if you can ever say that about one who makes such a din.

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