NEW YORK, USA, September 12 – Samantha Stosur won the US Open title in convincing fashion to take her first Grand Slam title, in a stormy final which saw an ugly outburst against the umpire from three-time champion Serena Williams.
Stosur kept her composure to win 6-2, 6-3 as Williams erupted in anger at the chair umpire in the second set, dominating the 13-time Grand Slam champion who had reached the final without dropping a set.
She became the first Australian woman to take the title in New York since Margaret Court in 1973, and the first to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon in 1980.
“I had one of my best days and I’m very fortunate that I had it on this stage in New York,” Stosur said. “Ever since I started playing it was a dream of mine to be here one day.”
Williams arrived in the final after dismantling world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals on Saturday night in a match that dragged toward midnight.
“I was more tired than I expected,” Williams said. “But I want to give all credit to Sam today … She played really, really well. That’s what you have to do when you play a Grand Slam final.”
Stosur, playing her second career Grand Slam final after a runner-up finish in the French Open last year, quickly claimed the opening set, breaking Williams to lead 2-1 and winning the last 12 points of the set as Williams’ frustration grew.
Williams, whose powerful serve is a cornerstone of her game, struggled to get her first serves in and Stosur repeatedly made her pay.
“She was cracking ’em today,” Williams said of the Australian, who was still rolling in the opening game of the second frame when she gave herself a double break point with a crushing return of serve.
Williams saved one with an ace, and appeared to save another for deuce.
But the American’s shout of “c’mon” as soon as she unleashed her forehand came before Stosur reached the ball, and umpire Eva Asderaki immediately penalised Williams for “intentional hindrance” and the point and the game went to Stosur.
“Aren’t you the one who screwed me over last time?” Williams bellowed at Asderaki. “That is totally not cool.”
The scene recalled Williams’ similar meltdown in her 2009 semi-final defeat to Kim Clijsters.
This time an angry Williams — backed by a suddenly energized crowd on the 22,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium — immediately stepped up her game, breaking Stosur for 1-1 and holding to edge ahead 2-1.
Stosur remained aloof from the dispute, but admitted the crowd response was intimidating.
“It was probably the loudest I ever felt a crowd in my whole entire life,” she siad. “You’re right in the middle of it.
“It was definitely a quite overwhelming feeling. But once I hit that next ball in the court and started playing again, I felt settled.”
Williams continued to berate Asderaki on the changeover, but Stosur stayed calm and saved two break points in the fourth game to level the set at 2-2.
Stosur said she didn’t really know just what was happening between Williams and the umpire.
“I was just kind of there,” Stosur said. “I do know the rule, but it’s not something I’ve ever had to deal with before.”
She gained the edge with a break for 4-3, and broke again to seal the match with yet another blistering return off a Williams second serve on her third match point.
“I don’t really know what to say,” said Stosur, whose rugged path to the final included a third-round victory over Nadia Petrova that lasted a US Open women’s record three hours and 16 minutes and a marathon 17-15 tiebreak loss to Maria Kirilenko before she rallied to beat the Russian.
“Thanks to everyone back home for supporting me. All my friends, family and everyone else, thanks so much for supporting me. I look forward to coming back home,” said Stosur.
Williams had voiced her eagerness to represent America on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and did her best to gloss over her burst of temper when it was all over.
“I was doing my best,” she said. “I hit a winner but I guess it didn’t count … But it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because she played really well.”