The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

Tennis: Serena Williams Beats Jankovic for third US Open title

Malta Independent Tuesday, 9 September 2008, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

Displaying the talent and tenacity that helped her dominate tennis earlier in the decade, Serena Williams outlasted Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-5 for her third US Open championship and ninth Grand Slam title Sunday.

She threw her racket high into the sky, hollering and hopping in a celebration that even she thought might’ve been over the top.

“I’m sorry I got so excited,” she told Jankovic when they met at the net.

Williams’ father, Richard, jumped to his feet after the final point. He didn’t seem to expect his daughter to do the same.

“I never knew Serena to be very, very excited. I knew Serena to be very, very mean,” he said after it was over. “I describe her as being a combination of a pit bull dog, a young Mike Tyson and an alligator.”

The fourth-seeded Williams beat sister Venus in the quarterfinals and barreled through this tournament without losing a set. This win did more than earn Serena her third silver trophy at Flushing Meadows – it assured she will return to No. 1 in the rankings for the time since August 2003, the longest gap at the top for a woman.

“It’s been so long,” she said.

Williams calmed down in time for the on-court trophy presentation, and smiled when she received the winner’s cheque for e1 million. Still full of personality, Jankovic wondered aloud, “How much did I get?”

Jankovic earned e526,000 for her first showing in a Grand Slam final.

The second-seeded Jankovic certainly had her chances – up 5-3 in the second set, she led 40-0 with Williams serving.

“I felt I had her. I had her, because she was really tired at the end of the second set,” Jankovic said. “Who knows what would have happened if I had got into a third set? I probably would have had the upper hand. But who knows?”

Jankovic won over fans with more than her determined play and her penchant for doing the splits to reach shots. She’s a crowd favorite, often talking to people in the stands and frequently watching herself on the giant video boards high above Arthur Ashe Stadium.

At one point, she saw herself on the screen and promptly fixed her hair.

“They should turn it off, because I keep looking,” she said. “You see your big face up there and you can’t help but look up.”

Venus Williams got ample air time, too. Sitting in the guest box, she cheered on the sister she teamed up with to win the Olympics doubles title.

Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam championship since the 2007 Australian Open, and took over the No. 1 ranking Jankovic held last month for exactly one week.

“I feel so young and I feel so energised,” Williams said. “Sometimes, I’d wake up at 6 in the morning to go practice and it was too dark.”

Williams and Jankovic originally were scheduled to play on Saturday night, but rain from Tropical Storm Hanna delayed their match.

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