Tennis-Williams wins first set of U.S. Open final

NEW YORK, Sept 8 Sun Sep 8, 2013 10:53pm BST

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NEW YORK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Defending champion Serena Williams won the first set of the U.S. Open women's final 7-5 against Victoria Azarenka in windy conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium court on Sunday.

Top seed Williams seized the advantage immediately, breaking Azarenka's serve in the opening game by winning four of the first five points, the first three on groundstroke errors before blasting a backhand crosscourt winner to grab a 1-0 lead.

Azarenka got even in the very next game though, breaking back at 30 when Williams's backhand carried long riding the wind.

Both players struggled in the blustery conditions, which seemed to unsettle defending champion Williams, who was muttering to herself about the wind between points and having trouble keeping her pink tennis skirt from flying up.

The set remained on serve until the 11th game when Williams began to find her stride and ripped a backhand to Azarenka's feet that the Belarussian dumped into the net to lose serve and give the American a 6-5 lead.

Serving for the set, Williams won four straight points, giving her eight points in a row to claim the opening set.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by ......)

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