Williams claims crown

New York, September 8:

American Serena Williams beat second seed Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 in the women’s US Open final on Sunday for her ninth career Grand Slam title and the world No 1 ranking.

There was plenty at stake as fourth-seeded Williams received the WTA’s top ranking, a spot she previously held for 57 weeks beginning in 2002. The 26-year-old Williams won her 32nd career singles title.

Williams fired three aces and hammered 44 winners. Will-iams, who also won the US Open in 1999 and 2002, is enjoying a revival in her game as she stormed through all seven rounds without dropping a set en route to posting her fourth singles title of 2008.

She kept the Jankovic off guard by imposing her powerful serve and strong ground strokes on the Serbian. The 21-year-old Jankovic came out with more spark in the opening set, taking an early break to go up 2-1. But Williams broke back in the fourth, sixth and 10th games to take the set. Williams clinched the match on her second match point, blasting a backhand winner into the open side.

Jankovic, who was competing in her first Grand Slam final, said she squandered her chances on the big points. Jankovic blew her chance to force a third set as she was up 5-3, 40-0 but then made three-straight unforced errors to let Williams off the hook.

This is the ninth time in history that a Grand Slam final has featured two women battling for No 1 in the world. Williams surpasses former No 1 ranked Ana Ivanovic who held the title for 12 weeks before being knocked out in the second round of the final major championship of the season.

On the men’s side, Britain’s Andy Murray advanced to his first Grand Slam final by stunning world No 1 Rafael Nadal, booking a date with reigning champion Roger Federer on Monday.

The 21-year-old Scotsman defeated the reigning Wimbledon, French Open and Olympic champion 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4 in a match that began on Saturday but was concluded the next day after being halted by rain in the third set.

The showdown with 12-time Grand Slam champion Federer was pushed to Monday. Murray became only the third British man to reach a Slam final in the 40-year Open era, after Greg Rusedski in the 1997 US Open and John Lloyd at the 1977 Australian Open, and would be the first to win a title by beating Federer. Murray owns a 2-1 lead over Federer in their career rivalry. He will rise to fourth in the next rankings.