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Serena Williams Takes 2008 US Open Title

 

Serena Williams is back!  The entire week she displayed the talent and tenacity that helped her dominate tennis earlier in the decade.   On Sunday Serena Williams outlasted Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 Sunday night in a thrilling match chock full of marvelous strokes and momentum swings to win her third US Open championship and ninth Grand Slam title.  And there was this "added bonus," as Williams termed it: She returns to No. 1 in the world rankings with the victory

Four times a single point from heading to a third set, Williams was simply relentless. She took the final four games and took the title without dropping a set. The closest she came to losing one? In the quarterfinals, when she beat older sister Venus in two tiebreakers.

On this night, Venus was in the guest box, cheering for her sister.  "Serena was a better player tonight," Jankovic said. "She was just too good tonight."

It was Williams' first triumph at Flushing Meadows since 2002, and it guaranteed that the American will lead the rankings Monday for the first time since August 2003, the longest gap between stints at #1 for a woman.   Jankovic was in that spot for one week last month and would have returned there by winning a title match that was postponed from Saturday night because of Tropical Storm Hanna.

As good as the second-seeded Jankovic is at retrieving balls and extending points, Williams can do that with the best of them, too, leading to point after point lasting more than a dozen shots as both women scurried around Arthur Ashe Stadium, their sneakers squeaking loudly.  Both sent close-range shots directly at the other.  But the difference in strength was clear: Repeatedly after those lengthy exchanges, Jankovic was left shaking her racket hand, trying to lessen the sting. On the match's very first point, Williams drove a backhand winner with such force, such ferocity, that she sent one of her earrings flying.

Serving to stay in it, Jankovic wasted a game point with a double-fault. Then she dropped a groundstroke into the net, presenting Williams with second match point. Williams converted, ending a 14-stroke point with a backhand winner.  Her father climbed out of his second-row seat to help celebrate, while her mother and Venus applauded in the guest box.

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