Serena Williams battled through the longest women’s final since 1980 to win her fifth U.S. Open title Sunday with a 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 victory over Victoria Azarenka.
Williams missed out on two chances to win the match while serving in the second set, but she came back in the third set to win her 17th career Grand Slam title and her second this year.
“I won the French Open, but I wasn’t happy with my performance in the other two Slams,” Williams said. “I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year.”
Williams rolled over Li Na of China, 6-0, 6-3, in the semifinal Friday. Her victory Sunday over Azarenka, from Belarus, moved Williams to within one Grand Slam win of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who each won 18 Grand Slams.
“It means a lot to me, this trophy, and every single trophy that I have,” Williams said. “It makes me feel that I’m still fighting just to be a part of this fabulous sport.”
Williams matches Steffi Graf with five U.S. Open titles. Only Evert, with six, won more.
Serena joined her sister, Venus Williams, in the doubles final but they fell short of another title with a 6-4, 6-2 loss to Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.
On the men’s side, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan lost to Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek in the semifinals Thursday. The Bryan brothers, the reigning Olympic champions, were seeking a calendar Grand Slam, after having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year. No doubles team has achieved that feat since 1951.
TRACK & FIELD
Ryan Whiting, in the men’s shot put, and Dawn Harper-Nelson, in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, each won their fifth IAAF Diamond League competitions of the season to capture the season titles in their respective events.
The United States won three gold medals, along with six silvers and two bronzes, at Friday’s meet in Brussels, Belgium, the last stop of the season for the IAAF Diamond League.
Whiting recorded the only throw of more than 70 feet. Harper-Nelson ran a season-best 12.48 seconds.
Meanwhile, Natasha Hastings had the other gold-medal effort for Team USA in winning the women’s 400-meter dash in 50.36 and Christian Taylor secured the men’s triple jump season title while finishing second in Belgium with a jump of 55-5.
LaShawn Merritt (400), David Oliver (110 hurdles) and Justin Gatlin (100) had already clinched men’s season titles last week.
Other silver medals were earned Friday by Mike Rodgers (men’s 100), Bernard Lagat (men’s 5,000), Gia Lewis-Smallwood (women’s discus), Alexandria Anderson (women’s 100) and Nick Symmonds (men’s 800).
Rodgers finished second to six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Bolt was clocked at 9.80 seconds, while Rodgers finished second in 9.90.
Walter Dix, in the 200, and Will Claye, in the triple jump, added bronze medals for the U.S. men.
Costa Rica scored twice in the first 10 minutes Friday to defeat the United States, 3-1, in a men’s world cup qualifying match in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Three matches remain in the CONCACAF world cup qualifying campaign, however, and the United States sits in strong position to qualify. The Americans are ranked second of six teams, with three automatically qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and a fourth team heading to a playoff.
Costa Rica’s victory moved the country into first place in the standings, dropping the United States into second, followed by Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Jamaica.
The loss ended a 12-game winning streak for the United States, which was closing in on Spain’s record of 15 consecutive wins in full international games.
U.S. captain Clint Dempsey, who became the 14th man to earn 100 caps for Team USA during the game, scored on a penalty kick to cut the deficit to 2-1. That was as close as the U.S. team would get.
The game marked the return of Landon Donovan for a world cup qualifier for the first time in more than a year. Donovan has played in a team record 38 world cup qualifiers but had to work his way back into the lineup after taking a break from soccer after the last MLS season.
However, the game was also marked by the absence of central midfielder Michael Bradley, who suffered an ankle injury in warm-ups and did not play. Bradley has been ruled out of the Mexico game.
Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson won their second straight AVP Tour title while Olympic silver medalists Jen Kessy and April Ross also picked up their second AVP win of the season Sunday in Atlantic City.
Gibb and Patterson defeated top-seed Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhausser 21-19, 21-15 in a men’s final that matched the top two seeds.
“We have a bit of a rivalry with these guys,” Gibb said.
Emily Day and Summer Ross came within a win of taking a women's title for the second straight week. But Kessy and April Ross defeated Day and Summer Ross, 23-25, 21-16, 15-13, in the final.
Ruth Brennan Morrey finished third Sunday in the ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships in Zofingen, Switzerland. Brennan Morrey, competing in her first elite world championship, finished in 7:27:04 for the 10-kilometer run, 150-kilometer bike and 30-kilometer run course. Jeff Wilson also earned a bronze medal in the men’s 25-29 age group for amateurs.
Dane Jackson won the men’s kayak gold medal Sunday at the ICF Freestyle World Championships in Bryson City, N.C. Jackson added two silver medals and a bronze during the weeklong competition. Fellow American Rowan Stuart won the K-1 junior women’s finals.
Nearly 800 riders competed Wednesday through Sunday to determine 98 national titles for road racers over 35 at the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships in Redmond, Ore.
The United States won gold medals in all three disciplines at the ISU Junior Grand Prix event in Mexico City. Polina Edmunds, the 2013 U.S. junior champion, won the women’s title, Nathan Chen the men’s and Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker won ice dancing. For Chen, the victory marked his second career Junior Grand Prix gold medal. Mariah Bell added a women’s bronze medal.
Heather Mathews joined France’s Andy Dinsdale to finish second at the U.S. Multihull Sailing Championships in Sausalito, Calif. Jeffrey Newsome and Michelle Eatough finished third.
Meanwhile, John Ruf and the team of Sarah Everhart-Skeels and Gerry Tiernan won their first U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship titles. Teams in 2.4mR and Ideal 18 classes tallied seven races over three days. The 2013 event was hosted by the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. This year’s talented field included Paralympians, US Sailing Sperry Top-Sider members, international sailors and new contenders.
Ruf, a 2008 Paralympic bronze medalist, had his sights set on his first U.S. Disabled Singlehanded Championship for the Judd Goldman Trophy and achieved this goal in his home state. Ruf won all seven races this week. Three-time U.S. disabled singlehanded champion Charles Rosenfield placed second and finished second overall in all seven races this week.
Devin Haney won at bantamweight and Jordan White lost at pinweight Sunday in the first two bouts involving U.S. fighters at the AIBA Junior Men’s World Championships in Kiev, Ukraine. The United States has 13 boxers competing in the event, which will conclude Sept. 15.
Monday’s action will feature five United States bouts with flyweight Joseph Cuellar and welterweight Javier Estrada both competing in the early session of action at the Kiev Palace of Sports. Cuellar will face off with Gagik Pozoyan of Georgia and Estrada will take on Ukraine’s own Andrii Terekheria.
The evening session will showcase light flyweight Daniel Gonzalez in a match-up with Hungary’s Tar Sandor as well as a featherweight showdown between Michael Nelson and Lithuania’s Deividas Mikalauskas. Alexis Rocha will be the final U.S. boxer to compete in the second day of boxing as he faces off with Xheison Tusha of Albania.
Brady Aiken pitched seven strong innings Sunday to lead the United States to a 3-2 victory over Japan in the championship game of the IBF AAA/18U World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan.
“To have the coaches and my teammates have the faith in me to go out and start this game means everything,” said Aiken, who gave up a run on five hits and two walks while striking out 10. “It was such as honor.”
Luis Ortiz, who worked the last two innings, was named the tournament MVP after going 1-0 with three saves in five appearances. Adam Haseley was selected as one of the tournament’s best three outfielders and Michael Rivera as the best third baseman.
Diana Zavjalova of Latvia defeated American Leanne Hulsenberg, 190-160, in the final of the USBC Queens Saturday in Henderson, Nev.
U.S. water ski athlete Nate Smith set a pending world slalom record of 2-1/2 buoys at 43 feet Saturday at the Ski Ranch Fall 1 at the Ski Ranch in Covington, La.
If approved by the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation’s Tournament Council, the score will surpass the current record of 2 buoys at 43 feet off co-held by Smith and fellow U.S. athlete Chris Parrish.
Meanwhile, the Water Ski Racing World Championships got underway at Tenerife, Canary Islands, and continue through Sept. 15.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org.