Victoria Azarenka satisfied having pushed 'the greatest' all the way in US Open final defeat to Serena Williams

 

For Victoria Azarenka, there were no regrets, just satisfaction that she had produced her best in her gallant US Open final loss to Serena Williams, a player she described as the greatest of all time.

At 5-3, 30-30 in the final set of her first final at Flushing Meadows, the world number one stood two points away from winning Sunday's title only to fall victim to yet another of Williams's great escapes as she went down 6-2 2-6 7-5.

"I have no regrets," the Belarusian said. "I felt like I gave it all there. Could it have gone my way? Probably, yes. But it didn't.

"It really, really hurts. Those emotions come out and you feel sad, but it's time to really realise what happened today. It was a great match. It was close, but not for me."

Outplayed in the first set, Australian Open champion Azarenka raised her game in the second, extending the rallies and forcing uncharacteristic mistakes from Williams, who looked more tense by the point.

But as she has done so many times in her career, the 30-year-old pulled herself together when she needed to and reeled off four straight games to win her fourth US Open and her 15th grand slam singles title.

"For me she's the greatest player of all time," Azarenka said. "She took the game to the next level.

"She makes me always make sure that I'm taking my game, my personality, my physical aspect to the next level.

"Today I was close. I'm going to have, for sure, another opportunity to make something better. That's what I'm looking for."

Azarenka said she was proud of how she fought back into the match, having been blown off court by the power of Williams in the first set.

"I felt like I came up to do something different to provoke those opportunities," she said. "I wasn't (thinking that) she will start to miss because that will never happen."

"I felt like I provoked her and I was just trying to stay in that moment to make sure that I keep it rolling."

Azarenka said she was proud of her ability to produce her best form on the biggest stages.

"I feel like when the task is more difficult for me it's more exciting," she said. "(When) that fear, the adrenaline is coming, something that you never experienced before, you have to stand tall and just face it."

Having won a bronze medal at the Olympics and gone so close to a second grand slam title, Azarenka said she would take a short rest and reflect on her efforts.

"It's a great achievement (to get to the final), no doubt," she said. "I feel proud of myself in one way, but still sad. But in a few days when I go home, I'll be more than happy with the summer.

"I think I'm in pretty good shoes, sitting here as a finalist of the U.S. Open actually for my first time."

Reuters

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before