FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Between sets of the US Open Women’s Finals, you could tell something was brewing. Serena Williams looked terrible during the first set, dropping it 6-2 to the No. 9 seed Samantha Stosur, and needed to fire herself up.
So, opening the second with a serve, Serena was very vocal, even being down 30-40.
Then came the “Come on!” heard around the world or at least before the play ended.
Hitting, what she thought was a winner, Williams screamed out, before Stosur could finish the play, caused her to be penalized a point, effectively giving the game to her opponent. Williams continued to berate the umpire Eva Asderaki, as Stosur went to win the championship after a 6-3 second set.
“I don’t think it had a big impact, because I think at the end she won pretty handily, like 6‑3. So maybe it would have been 6‑4,” Serena said. “I give her all the credit because she really played phenomenal and she deserved to be the US Open champion this year.”
And that’s the real story. No matter what antics Williams pulled in the match, Stosur dominated play throughout. The Aussie made sure the game was in hand, right from the drop of the ball.
“I didn’t think that I’d be able to do it in 6‑2, 63, that’s for sure,” Stosur said. “After that first set I kind of sat down and I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest, and I thought, Okay, I’m a set up now; I’ve got a chance to win one out of the next two and I’ve got a chance.”
Williams temper not withstanding what probably turned this match around was the turnaround time from the Semifinals. Stosur’s match with Angelique Kerber was finished on Saturday around 9 p.m. while Williams didn’t even get on the court until after 10. By the time Serena was done dispatching Caroline Wozniacki and all the after match work, it was past 1:30 in the morning.
“I think I definitely was a little more tired than I expected, but I’m not here to make excuses,” Serena said. “I really want to put it out there and gave all the credit to Sam today, because I think she played really well.
“But it was a little bit of a tough turnaround, but I don’t think it would have made a difference today. I just probably should have been lighter on my toes and move in a little faster.”
But more importantly, you have to look at what Stosur has accomplished over the past three years. Losing almost a year of play from 2007-08 with Lyme disease, the Aussie came back into shape better than ever. A doubles specialist, who won two Grand Slams with Lisa Raymond, she then started working hard as a singles player and went to the Finals at the French Open in 2010, losing to Francesca Schiavone.
“I think the whole time I’ve been playing I wanted to be a good singles player and get the most out of myself on the singles court,” Stosur said. “I had that great success in doubles and that was fantastic, but, yeah, once I got sick and got over that illness, then I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
“Obviously now it was definitely the right decision to try and follow those dreams and those footsteps. You know, I don’t know. It’s something that I’ve worked very hard for, obviously, and now to actually get that huge reward is very pleasing.
“So it’s kinda ‑‑ it’s great. I mean, to win the doubles here in ’05 and now do this is great, and maybe it’s kind of funny that Lisa also won the doubles today, so it’s kind of cool.”
And that’s the real story here. Stosur worked hard to get the title yesterday and no matter what Serena did, it wasn’t enough to beat the 27 year-old.
Antics and all.