FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In this US Open, Serena Williams sent a message to the world.
After struggling last season and knocked out by Justine Henin in the Quarterfinal, the younger Williams sister made a huge comeback in 2008, capped off by the straight set win in the Women’s Final over second seeded Jelena Jankovic , 6-4, 7-5.
“I’ve been working so hard all year,” said Williams, who is now the world’s No. 1 player. “Sometimes I wake up at like 6:00 in the morning to go practice and it was too dark. I would have to wait until it gets light. It’s just paying off. No one really, really knows the work that an athlete puts in. You know, it’s worth it. And then I felt like, Gosh, I’ve been working the hardest. I should win.”
It didn’t come easy as Williams had to fight Jankovic in the second set to seal the deal. Down 3-5 and 0-40, she was able to come back from the triple set point to take the next four games, giving her the win.
Using the skills that made her No. 1 five years ago, Williams was able to put the younger Jankovic on her heals, bowling her over during the latter stages of the match.
“I just got so positive. I was like, um, I really want to win,” she said. “All I have to do is break and hold, break, and hold, and break. I figured it seemed so simple, so I thought, Okay, all I have to do is win one point here and one point there, and I was ready.”
For her ninth Grand Slam win – and $1.5 million payday – the 27 year-old came out strong, winning the first set 6-4 and never trailing her Serbian opponent. The ease of her server and ability to make a strong return, which alluded her last year, didn’t give Jankovic a chance to even sniff victory in the first.
Then came the second and Jankovic was able to come back, ultimately serving for the set, but couldn’t close Williams out 0-40 and double faulted another set point later in the game.
Williams was able to take advantage of the Serb to ultimately win another Grand Slam.
“I want to get double digits [wins],” Williams said. I like that I’m at nine because I’m pushing for ten, and I feel like I can do it. I obviously play well all the time in Australia, so that’s coming up soon. I have to win another French Open and I love Wimbledon. I definitely had the game to do it. I love winning Grand Slams, so I look forward to it.”
Notes: Williams also won the Open in 1999 and 2002…She also won the Australian Open three time [2003, 2005, 2007] with one wins at Wimbledon [2002, 2003] and one at Roland Garros in 2002.