Serena Williams – A look back at her six US Open singles triumphs
Serena Williams could well play her last US Open later this year as she turns 41 after the tournament.
In recognition of her incredible career, Tennishead has looked back at Serena’s six US Open triumphs spanning 15 years and a whole lot of winning.
#1 – 1999 – A teenage Serena stuns the US Open field
Serena had already made her US Open debut in 1998 after her main draw debut at each of the other Slams.
Her best result came at the 1998 French Open, reaching the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Arantxa Sanchez Vicario there in three sets.
Coming into the 1999 US Open, still just 17 years old, Serena was seeded seventh, with sister Venus seeded third.
After two straight sets wins, Serena defeated a 16-year-old Kim Clijsters from a set down to then take on 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez in the fourth round.
Serena beat the Spaniard, also from a set behind, before doing the same against Monica Seles in the quarter-finals.
She then took on compatriot and defending US Open champion Lindsey Davenport in the semi-finals.
Serena again won in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, to meet fellow teenager and 1997 US Open champion Martina Hingis in the final.
After four consecutive three-set battles, Serena got this one done in two, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) to win her maiden Major crown at just her fourth event and even before older sister Venus did so.
#2 – 2002 – A dominant force
Fast forward four years and Venus and Serena had been dominating the women’s game.
Between the 1999 and 2002 US Opens, Venus or Serena had won six of the 11 Slams contested.
Those included Serena’s first titles at the French Open and Wimbledon, both in 2002, defeating Venus in the final on both occasions, as she entered New York looking for a third successive Major crown.
She and Venus were seeded first and second respectively, and both made short work of reaching the quarter-finals, neither dropping a set.
Venus required three sets against compatriot Chanda Rubin in the fourth round and again against Amelie Mauresmo in the semi-finals to reach the championship match.
On the other hand, Serena did not drop a set on her route to the final, even to fourth seed Lindsey Davenport in the semi-finals.
So it was a third Major final in a row where the Williams sisters squared off, and again Serena triumphed, winning 6-4, 6-3 for her second US Open fourth Slam singles trophy.
#3 – 2008 – Serena ends her US Open drought
Serena completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam by winning the 2003 Australian Open, again defeating Venus in the final, before her Slam-winning streak ended at the 2003 French Open.
The next five years were a comparative dry spell for Serena, winning just three Majors between the 2003 Australian Open and 2008 US Open whilst losing in two more finals.
After losing to Venus in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Serena was seeded fourth behind Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
And Serena did what fans expect from her by dominating her opponents without the loss of set up until a quarter-final with who else but Venus.
In a tight affair Serena came out the winner in two tiebreaks, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (9-7) to clinch a spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 2002.
She then took out sixth seed Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-2 to face second seed Jelena Jankovic. Nothing seemed to change as Serena took down the Serbian 6-4, 7-5 to clinch her ninth career Slam, drawing level with Monica Seles’ tally.
#4 – 2012 – Surpassing an American legend
Another four years and another five Majors for Serena, two Australian Opens and three Wimbledon crowns.
Not only that, but Serena returned to the courts of Wimbledon just weeks after winning The Championships to win Olympic singles gold, her third overall and first in singles.
With that immense confidence, Serena came to New York looking to land a 15th singles Slam title.
As she had done many a time, Serena reached the quarter-finals barely losing games, let alone sets as she was never pushed further than 6-4.
She then downed 12th seed Ana Ivanovic and 10th seed Sara Errani also in straight sets to reach a 19th career Major final.
There she took on world number one and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
And here is where a first test came for the American when, after winning the first set 6-2, Azarenka responded in kind to set a decider.
But Serena was up to the task as she took the third 7-5 to secure her 15th Major singles title.
In doing so she overtook another American legend in Pete Sampras and edged closer to the tallies of all-time greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, both of whom won 18 Slam singles titles in their careers.
#5 – 2013 – Serena backs it up
Serena had never won consecutive US Open titles before, but that would change in 2013.
In an unusual turn, Serena came into New York off the back of a disappointing Wimbledon, having been on the receiving end of a big upset against Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round.
Nevertheless, the top seed snapped back into dominant form on the American hard courts, breezing into the final for the loss of just 16 games over six matches.
Again Serena met Victoria Azarenka, the Belarusian having successfully defended her Australian Open title at the start of the year.
And again the second seed sternly tested Serena. After claiming the first set 7-5, the American served for the championship twice in the second set, with Azarenka breaking both times to force a tiebreak, taking it 8-6 to head into a third set.
After both women held serve to open the decider, Serena put the hammer down to win the next five games and clinch her 17th Slam trophy.
#6 – 2014 – Serena equals two US Open legends
In the year following her fifth US Open crown, Serena did not add another Slam title.
She remained on 17, one short of former world number ones Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.
As in 2013, Serena was the top seed at the US Open, and again she reached the final with relative ease, not dropping a set along the way.
Unlike the year before, Serena did not face Azarenka in the final after the Belarusian 16th seed went out in the quarter-finals.
Instead she took on 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki, and the Dane was unable to resist Serena like Azarenka had done.
Serena won 6-3, 6-3 in under 80 minutes, the legend falling to the court as the moment sank in.
She had done it, matched two of the greatest players ever with an 18th Major triumph.
Moreover, she matched Evert’s record of six US Open singles titles to become the most successful singles player, man or woman, in the Open Era at the tournament.
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