NEW YORK (AP) — Serena Williams wrapped up her remarkable summer with the latest rendition of a scene that has become familiar the past few months.
—Williams jumping up and down on the tennis court with a mile-wide smile across her face.
—Williams picking up a big-time prize — this time, the U.S. Open trophy, which will look good somewhere near the gold medals she won at the Olympics and the silver plate she took home from Wimbledon.
If there was anything unexpected about her latest triumph, it was the challenge she faced from Victoria Azarenka, especially considering the way Williams dominated everyone she faced on the way to Sunday’s final, to say nothing of the way the final started.
Come the third set, with the sun going down and the stadium completely blanketed in shadows, Williams stood only two points away from a loss. She rediscovered her form in time, took the last four games of the match and won her fourth title at Flushing Meadows and 15th Grand Slam title overall with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory. It was the first women’s U.S. Open final to go three sets since 1995.
“If it was anybody other than Serena on the other side of the court, I’m not sure we’d be talking now,” said Patrick Mouratoglou, a coach who has been working with Williams recently. “But it was Serena. She was there. She’s a winner and she’s a champion.”
The U.S. Open was the clincher — a two-week clinic during which she lost only 19 games over her first six matches, then put on a display in how to play pressure tennis when the stakes were the highest. Trailing 5-3 and serving at 30-all against Azarenka, the Australian Open champion seeded first in this tournament, Williams wrested back control of the match by winning 10 of the next 12 points.
SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners are witness to the formula for winning baseball: Good pitching, along with home runs with guys on base.
It’s a simple formula, but unfortunately for the Mariners, they were not in the mix. That was the way the Oakland Athletics managed to win all three weekend games, including Sunday’s 4-2 decision.
Tommy Milone worked six strong innings, Jonny Gomes hit a three-run homer and the A’s never let the Mariners threaten.
“We ran into a hot team and sometimes that’s the way it goes. We’ve been in the games, we’ve gotten the runners in scoring position, we’ve gotten runners on base. We’ve missed those key hits,” said Michael Saunders, who had an RBI triple.
Milone (12-10) allowed eight hits and two runs, matched a career high with 10 strikeouts and had no walks.
CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Rory McIlroy beat the strongest leaderboard in golf this year Sunday in the BMW Championship and joined some elite company.
McIlroy made back-to-back birdies around the turn to emerge from a four-way tie and seize control at Crooked Stick. He closed with a 5-under 67, making his only bogey on the final hole when it no longer mattered, for a two-shot victory over Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood.
Everyone knew Boy Wonder was a special player when he won the U.S. Open last summer with a record score. The last month has established him as the dominant player in golf, with three wins in four tournaments loaded with the best players — the PGA Championship and two FedEx Cup playoff events.
McIlroy became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2009 to win in consecutive weeks on the PGA Tour, and with his sixth career win, joined Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win at least six times at age 23.
Westwood, who lost to McIlroy in the semifinals of the Match Play Championship in February, caught him with a birdie on the par-3 13th. But the weak area of his game showed up at the wrong time — a poor chip on the 14th for bogey, another pedestrian chip on the par-5 15th that led to par. He wound up with a 69.
Mickelson, tied for the lead going into the final round, was one shot behind when his approach flew the green on No. 12 and he had to scramble for bogey. Mickelson made back-to-back birdies to get within two shots of the lead, but he badly missed a 3-foot par putt on the 17th to fall three shots behind. He closed with a 70.
Woods was never seriously in the mix. Five shots behind with seven holes to play, he made three late birdies and shot 68 to tie for fourth with Robert Garrigus (69).