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12 Sep 2011

Australia's Sam Stosur won her first Grand Slam title with a stunning victory over favourite Serena Williams in a controversial US Open final.

The ninth seed gave a hugely impressive performance to beat the three-time champion 6-2 6-3 in one hour and 13 minutes at Flushing Meadows.

An outburst from Williams that brought the American a code violation had threatened to overshadow the final.

But a nerveless Stosur continued to dominate and ran out a deserved winner.

"I had one of my best days and I'm very fortunate that I had it on this stage in New York," said Stosur.

"Ever since I started playing it was a dream of mine to be here one day. I don't really know what to say. Serena, you are a fantastic player, great champion and have done wonders for our sport."

The 27-year-old from Queensland becomes the first Australian woman to win the US Open since Margaret Court in 1973.

She went into the final as a considerable underdog, having played in just one Grand Slam final compared to the 13-time major winner Williams, who had not dropped a set in the tournament.

Stosur was clearly not concerned by any of that as she used her strengths, a heavy kick serve and powerful forehand, to take control against a misfiring Williams.

The American has the best serve in the game but making just 35% of first serves in the opening set allowed Stosur to attack the returns and break twice as she took it in 31 minutes.

A frustrated Williams threw her racquet to the ground as the set slipped away, but that was nothing compared to the anger she displayed early in the second.

Facing another break point in the opening game, Williams looked to have saved it with a forehand winner, but her loud cry of "Come on!" was judged by umpire Eva Asderaki to have come before Stosur had a chance to get the ball back, and the point - and the game - went to the Australian.

Williams was furious, staring at the umpire in disbelief as the feisty New York crowd let their feelings be known, and after hitting a winner on the subsequent point, the American aimed an angry tirade at Asderaki.

She was consequently given a code violation, and at the end of the game she continued to berate the umpire, saying "you're out of control" and "you're unattractive inside", among other things.

The whole episode could later be significant as Williams is still playing under a suspended ban for another incident at the US Open two years ago.

Stosur could merely watch as all this was going on, and the anger clearly energised Williams for a period as she broke back immediately with her best play of the match, but it would not last.

The Australian stuck to her tactics, moving Williams around and attacking whenever possible, and she regained the advantage at 4-3 before moving confidently to the verge of a major shock.

There was no respite for the Williams serve as Stosur continued to attack it mercilessly, seeing two match points disappear before running around her forehand and hammering a return winner on the third.

It was just reward for a brilliantly executed game plan, while Williams' impressive return to a Grand Slam final after a year of injury and illness was certainly overshadowed by her outburst.

"It wouldn't have made a difference," Williams said when asked on court afterwards about the point she lost.

"Six months ago in the hospital I couldn't even stand up, but thanks to my parents and sisters and everyone else I'm here. I'm emotional, I might start crying. I'm happy to be here, it's really good."


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