Serena Williams battled back from the brink of defeat to claim her 15th grand slam title and win the U.S. Open for the fourth time with a 6-2 2-6 7-5 victory over world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka on Sunday.The American added to her 2012 Wimbledon and Olympic crowns after being pushed to the limit by the Australian Open champion, who forced the 30-year-old to drop her first set of the tournament.“I honestly can’t believe I won. I was preparing my runner-up speech because she was playing so well,” Williams said courtside after the match, which lasted two hours 18 minutes.“I’m so shocked. It’s remarkable.”It was the first time in 17 years that the women’s final went the distance in New York, and it ended Azarenka’s run of 12 successive victories in matches lasting three sets.“Serena deserves to win. She showed how true a champion she is,” Azarenka said. “I definitely gave it all today. Stepping off this court I will have no regrets.”Williams won the hard-court tournament for the first time as a 17-year-old in 1999 but has not enjoyed much success since her third win in 2008. She lost in an ill-tempered final last year and was also fined in 2009 after being involved in another incident during her semifinal defeat.The former world No. 1 won the opening set in just 34 minutes, as she threatened to steamroll Azarenka as she has all opponents since bouncing back from her first-round defeat at the French Open.However, unlike in their Wimbledon semifinal clash in July, her 23-year-old opponent picked herself up and dominated the second set with some power play of her own.Azarenka broke to lead 2-1 in the deciding set but was immediately pegged back by the fourth seed.A break to love in the seventh game put her in the position of serving for the title at 5-4, but Williams rallied to win the next three games and leave Azarenka in tears after missing a golden chance to win her second grand slam title. Williams took her record in grand slam finals to 15-4, becoming the first 30-something to win a major since Martina Navratilova at the 1987 U.S. Open, as she claimed the $1.9 million first prize.It was the first time since 2002 that a woman has won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year, when Williams also won the French Open.She joined her older sister Venus and Steffi Graf as the only women to win Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open in the same year.It has capped a remarkable comeback for Williams, who spent almost a year out of the game following her 2010 Wimbledon triumph.She needed surgery after cutting her foot in a freak accident at a restaurant and then suffered life-threatening complications when blood clots formed on her lungs.
Roger Federer produced some of his best tennis as he beat world number one Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-2 to secure a place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 in London.The world number three took full advantage of a slightly off-colour performance from Djokovic to book his place in the last four of the tournament with a game to spare.Federer still has to play Kei Nishikori, who bounced back from his opening loss to Djokovic with victory over Tomas Berdych earlier in the day. Djokovic, meanwhile, will take on Berdych needing to win in straight sets to guarantee his place in the semi-finals.A battling start saw the world number three forced to save a break point in his opening service game before he found his rhythm and settled into the match.There were no further break point opportunities on either side for much of the opening set, which looked sure to be decided on a tie-break until Federer broke through in the 12th game.A forehand wide across court from Djokovic gifted Federer his first break point of the match and although he squandered the chance by netting a forehand, the world number one did not escape the second as Federer produced a delicate backhand half volley winner that spun back towards the net and away from Djokovic as soon as it touched the court. Federer looked poised to run away with the match, reeling off 17 of 22 points on his way to an early break in the second set.The curiously out-of-sorts Djokovic did prove to have a little fight left in him as he broke back immediately. But it was not enough to deter the single-minded Federer, who broke again in the sixth game before going on to wrap up the win at the second attempt whn Djokovic went wide with an inside out forehand across court, challenged in vein by the Serb.Djokovic, champion for the last three years at the O2 Arena showpiece, had not been beaten indoors since 2012, a winning streak of 38 matches.”He tactically played well,” Djokovic said of Federer. “Undoubtedly, he was the better player on the court. But I think I also allowed him to play and penetrate through the ball and dictate the tempo from the baseline.”I didn’t have this follow-through on my shots, no depth honestly, many mistakes. Basically if you play this way against Roger, you have no chance.” –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports