In one of the most stunning upsets in US Open history, Australian Samantha Stosur shocked 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-3, to win her first major title.
In a gutsy and powerful performance in Ashe Stadium, Stosur overwhelmed Williams with her serve and forehand from the outset of the match, and even after the contest briefly fell into the chaos early in the second set when Serena was hotly arguing with the chair umpire, the 27-year-old Aussie managed to recompose herself and stick with her game plan.
Somewhat amazingly after a spotty year, Stosur found herself at this US Open and finally brought to the forefront two areas that she has been diligently working to improve: her backhand and her volley. While she didn't manage to nail a backhand winner against Serena, she mixed up the strokes, kept it deep with her two-hander and low with her slice. She didn't charge the net a ton but did convert seven of her 11 approaches.
Williams had not lost a set coming into the final, taking out the likes of No. 4 Victoria Azarenka, former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, up-and-comer Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. She had not lost a match in the summer hard-court season, winning Stanford and Toronto and winning the most points during the Olympus US Open Series.
But unlike some of the younger players Serena faced in Flushing Meadows, 2010 Roland Garros finalist Stosur did not get nervous and began to execute from the moment she stepped on court.
Serena had trouble handling her kick and slice serves and could not contend with the Aussie's hard forehand, which she hit to every angle of the court. Stosur also jumped on Serena's second serves, the only player able to do so during the event, and Williams was only able to win 33 percent of her second-serve points.
She broke Serena to 2-1 in the first set when the American erred on a backhand and broke her again to 5-2 when Williams missed another backhand. Stosur then won the first set by stinging a forehand down-the-line winner.
The match spun about out of control at the start of the second set, when on break point, Serena screamed right after she hit a forehand down the line and before Stosur was able to get her racket on the ball. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki then awarded the point to Stosur, stating that Grand Slam rules dictated that decision. Serena badly lost her temper and eventually received a code violation.
However, Serena seemed to gain momentum from the incident and broke Stosur back to 1-1 with a whizzing backhand down the line. She held two break points on Stosur's serve at 2-1, but the Aussie responded with an ace and then forced her into a backhand error and eventually held.
Stosur's confidence was then clearly back, and she broke Williams to 4-3 after Serena committed another backhand error. The Australian held to 5-3 with a cracking forehand winner and then broke Williams to win the match when Serena erred on a forehand.
Williams ended the match with 19 winners and 25 unforced errors, while Stosur clocked 20 winners -- 12 off her forehand side -- and committed only 12 unforced errors.
After Serena's final groundstroke flew wide, the quiet Stosur then smiled in joy and knelt to the ground, as she became the first Australian woman to win a major since Evonne Goolagong at 1980 Wimbledon.
“To go out and play the way I did is an unbelievable feeling,” Stosur said.