Serena Williams, perhaps the greatest female tennis player of all-time, claimed her fifth U.S. Open title and 17th grand slam Sunday in a thrilling three-set win over Belarus' Victoria Azarenka, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.
A bad case of nerves and steely determination mixed like oil and water and as world no.1 Serena Williams faced-off in a rematch of the 2012 final against the world's no. 2 player Victoria Azarenka.
The constantly swinging momentum and breaks of serve throughout the match were enough to give spectators whiplash as the two women battled for the title, each using every weapon within their arsenals to clench what would become either woman's second major championship of the year.
There was even a foot fault called for good measure during a tight game in the first set as Serena trailed 4-5. Williams served an ace, but was called for the foot fault, hearkening back to her 2009 loss to Kim Clijsters when Williams had an altercation with a linesperson for the same type of call.
In the first two games of the first set, Serena was unsettled, generating more errors than winners, while Azarenka moved well and went for her shots. Breezy conditions and a case of nerves affected both sides of the net as the players continued to find their games at 3-all. Williams ultimately outlasted her opponent, claiming the first set in 58 minutes.
In the second set Serena's momentum continued as she broke Azarenka in the opening game and backed up the break with a hold at love for 2-0. However, the Belarusian player remained crafty, going three-for-three with sneaky drop shots and increasing her winners. Gritty play earned Azarenka a break back for 2-4 and she claimed the second set, 7-6.
The crowd remained solidly behind Serena as she sprinted to a 5-1 lead in the final set, hitting strings of winners and aces—9 total aces for the match—and cruised to victory, successfully defending her title.
As the winner of the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge, Williams takes home an additional $1 million for a total prize of $3.6 million—making her the first female athlete to reach $50 million in career prize money.
During the championship match, tennis legend John McEnroe called Williams' serve, "The greatest serve I've ever seen in the women's game. The greatest serve period." He went on to call Serena, "The greatest player that ever lived."
Kevin Don Porter is a contributor for CBS Local-DC and author of MISSING -- a new YA mystery novel available on Amazon.com. Visit his website at www.kevindonporter.com. Friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter: @kevindonporter.