| NEW YORK, Sept 9
NEW YORK, Sept 9 For Victoria Azarenka, there
were no regrets, just satisfaction that she had produced her
best in her gallant U.S. 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 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 U.S. 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
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
"I think I'm in pretty good shoes, sitting here as a
finalist of the U.S. Open actually for my first time."
(Editing by Ian Ransom)