Whenever one begins to doubt the relentlessness of Serena Williams, she will always have another emphatic victory stored in her locker, as she showed with her sixth overall and third consecutive US Open title victory on Sunday.
The world number one won her 18th Grand Slam with a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 victory over Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in just 75 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Flushing Meadows.
While the other top eight seeds dropped like flies in the first four rounds leaving the American as the only one standing in the quarter-finals, there was to be no such lapse in concentration from the 32-year-old.
The top seed blasted her way to victory with 29 winners, as her baseline strokes were too strong for the 10th seed, who saw her serve broken five times.
An ominous start
The tone was set in Wozniacki’s first service game, as two double faults allowed Williams to move up an early break.
But little could be read into breaks of serve in the first set as four more breaks were exchanged, but Williams then managed to hold serve twice from a 4-2 lead, sealing a one-set advantage on her second set point.
Wozniacki had not been able to capitalise on a first serve success rate of just 41% for Williams in the opening set, a mistake she was made to pay for.
Another break of serve in the first game of the second set gave Williams a sight of the finish line, and she did not look back, with the highlight of the set being a 26-shot rally which took Williams to within two points of victory.
Moment of elation
A backhand that was sent long by Wozniacki then sent the 22,000 spectators into raptures, and Williams collapsed to the floor in elation.
This may be the most satisfying Grand Slam win of them all for Williams, who won all 14 sets on the way to winning the tournament, responding to her critics after failing to reach the quarter-finals of any of the other three majors this year.
She is now level with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova in fourth on the all-time list of Grand Slam wins, and just six behind record holder Margaret Court.
Fittingly, it was Evert and Navratilova who presented Williams with the trophy, and she was full of emotion when she spoke to the crowd after the match.
"I couldn't have finished things in a better way,” she said.
“It is a pleasure for me to win here, I am really emotional. I couldn't ask to do it at a better place."
For Wozniacki, this was not to be the crowning moment of a career that has now seen her reach two Grand Slam finals and spend 67 weeks as the world number one, and her statistics of four winners and 29 unforced errors will underline how brief and disappointing her performance was.
A gracious loser
But the 24-year-old was as gracious in defeat as she possibly could be, as she was as in awe of her opponent as the rest of the tennis world.
She joked: “She is an inspiration to me on and off the court and an unbelievable friend, and you definitely owe drinks later.”
While high seeds have faltered in both the men’s and women’s singles this year, Williams has showed that she remains as a standard bearer for others to match and there is still plenty for the chasing pack to do to knock her off her game in her twilight years.