Serena Williams stumbled in the second set, losing a 4-1 lead, but would bounce back to defeat Vitoria Azarenka, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1, to capture her fifth U.S. Open singles title and back-to-back champoinshiops.
Williams is now tied for second in U.S. Open titles with Stefi Graf, and one behind Chris Evert. It also marks her 17th career Grand Slam title, putting her one behind Evert and Martina Navratilova. Graf has the most all-time with 22 titles.
For her victory, Williams took home $3.6 million, the largest payday in tennis history. She had to earn it after she let the second set get away from her.
“I think I got a little uptight, which probably wasn’t the best thing at that moment,” Williams said after the match. “I wasn’t playing very smart tennis then, so I just had to relax.”
Williams would go on to dominate in the third set. Azarenka said her comeback in the second set didn’t affect her play in the third.
“There was no letdown,” she said. “I think it was the moment in the third set when the momentum changed a little bit, and I kind of felt like I lost that momentum.”