HOWARD FENDRICH (AP Tennis Writer) 14 minutes ago AP - Sports
by Shane Bacon
Back in 1999, Serena Williams was a teenager at the U.S. Open with a ton of talent and absolutely no idea about legacy, history or what might happen 15 years from that finals defeat of Martina Hingis.
In 2013, Williams might have done enough to be considered the greatest champion in women's tennis history.
Serena took out No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 on Sunday to win her 17th Grand Slam title, an accomplishment made all the more impressive by the sheer longevity of her career as a Grand Slam champion and the fact that she will be 32-years-old by the time this month ends.
The win marks the fourth time in her career that Williams was able to defend a Grand Slam title, and the sixth time that Williams was able to win multiple Grand Slams in the same season after her French Open (edited by me) win earlier this year.
It wasn't an easy march for Serena, who looked like she would win this one in straight sets, serving for the match twice. Azarenka, who has been on the wrong side of this U.S. Open final for the second straight season, battled back with a ton of heart in that second set, with the two breaks and coming back in the tiebreaker to take the championship to three sets, but it was there Serena decided to show just how complete her game has become.
Williams' fastest serve on Sunday? Just 126 miles per hour, three miles per hour faster than Rafael Nadal notched in his semifinal win over Richard Gasquet.
Her third set stats when it looked like she was on the ropes and the momentum was in Azarenka's favor? An 85 percent first serve winning percentage, and facing just three break points, was able to convert two of them.
Williams now goes to the 2014 season with her eyes on a few different numbers. This win marks her 17th Grand Slam, putting her just one big win away from tying the 18 that both Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were able to win, and it looks like she won't need much of a tweak to her game to at least match that number next season.
For now, Serena ends this season on an incredibly high note, winning a tournament that looked a breeze until that second set on Sunday and proving everyone that age is simply not a factor in Serena's world.