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Serena claims fifth US Open title, 14 years after her first

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Serena Williams claimed her fifth US open title 14 years after she won her first, as a teenager. Williams beat Belarussian Victoria Azarenka in three sets after being put off her stride by the high winds at Flushing Meadows.

Williams had served for the match twice in the second set, but Azarenka had battled back with more resilience than we are accustomed to see from Williams's opponents. The players get on well, and the friendship might mean that Azarenka is less prone to be intimidated by the American. In the end Williams paid tribute to the fortitude of Azarenka.

Williams said the spectators helped pull her through in the final set, although the US Open crowd has not always been entirely supportive of Williams. "I definitely felt the love," she said. "It's an honour to play in New York. Victoria you played an unbelievable match. What a great person."

When Williams went out of Wimbledon in the first round, there were murmurs that, facing her 32nd birthday later this month, Williams had lost her hunger for the sport. She corrected that assumption fairly comprehensively in this tournament, establishing the longest spell of domination by any player in a single grand slam.

"I feel great. I have never felt better," Williams said, after claiming her 17th grand slam title, one short of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. "I feel really fit. I can play a tournament like this, singles, doubles, with tough, tough schedules. For the most part, I felt really good. I'm excited about the possibilities. I don't know what can happen. I just keep playing and do the best that I can."

Azarenka confirmed that Williams remained the best player on the circuit. "She's a champion, and she knows how to repeat that. She knows what it takes to get there," she said. "She's playing definitely her best tennis right now."

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