Live Commentary: Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka - as it happened

Live Commentary: Williams vs. Azarenka - as it happened
Relive Sports Mole's coverage of the US Open women's final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

Serena Williams has won her fifth US Open title after a three-set victory over Victoria Azarenka.

In what turned out to be a high-quality affair, Williams looked on course to seal the victory in double-quick time after moving a set and a double-break ahead.

However, Azarenka roared back to take the match into a decider, before the world number one regained the initiative in the third to seal her 17th Grand Slam title.

Read below to see how the action unfolded at Flushing Meadows.


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9.42pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the US Open women's final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

9.44pmWell what a final we could have in store this evening! The two top-ranked players in the world were seeded to face each other in the final, and they have stormed through the draw over the past two weeks.

9.46pmThis is, of course, a repeat of last year's final. Serena narrowly came out on top that day, and she is favourite to do so this evening, but Azarenka is one of the few players who can test the American.

9.47pmThe sun is out at Flushing Meadows, but there is quite a strong breeze, which has the potential to disrupt the rhythm of the match.

9.50pmThe two players are ready. It will be Victoria Azarenka to serve first.

Williams *1-0 AzarenkaBREAK! From the very first point, some of the hitting is phenomenal, and Williams quickly establishes a 0-30 after two errors from Azarenka. The American is forcing Azarenka back and she quickly brings up three break points. The world number two saves the first with an ace, but a bludgeoning backhand winner earns Williams the opening game.

Williams 1-1* AzarenkaBREAK! This has been a fast start from Williams, whose heavy hitting is seeing her dominate from the baseline. She moves to 30-0, but Azarenka strikes back with a cross-court return that forces Williams to net for 30-30. The world number one then makes a further two mistakes, and out of nowhere, Azarenka breaks back!

Williams *1-2 AzarenkaThe wind has gotten much stronger since we began the match 10 minutes ago, and the errors are flying off both racquets. It's Williams who is struggling the most, going long twice in succession to hand her opponent two game points, before driving the ball into the top of the net. It was a shaky start from Azarenka, but she looks the more comfortable of the two now.

Williams 2-2* AzarenkaStunning defensive play from Azarenka, who withstands the pressure from Williams before unleashing a forehand pass for 0-15. The American fights back for 30-15, but she over-hits another forehand to give Azarenka a sniff at 30-30. However, she can't capitalise, and Williams levels things up at 2-2.

Williams *2-3 AzarenkaThere hasn't been much finesse in this match so far, and it continues at the start of the fifth game, as both players trade huge shots off the ground. Williams continues to be the more aggressive, but she makes three more errors, despite dominating the respective rallies.

Williams 3-3* AzarenkaIt's Azarenka's turn to go on the offensive, responding from losing the first point with a perfectly-place baseline winner. The Belorussian makes a couple of mistakes though, before Williams wins the game with a cross-court winner.

Williams *3-4 AzarenkaCrucial 15 minutes of the set coming up. Williams strikes first, but three points in a row take Azarenka to the brink of the game. It looks certain to be 40-30, but the world number two throws out a racquet at the net to send the ball over Williams and into the back of the court.

Williams 4-4* AzarenkaThe first point is a shocker from Williams, who gets herself into a muddle and sends a straightforward volley wide of the tramlines. However, she remains composed, drilling down four huge serves to win the game.

Williams *4-5 AzarenkaWilliams takes the opening exchange, but she comes out second best after an epic second point, with Azarenka driving the ball into the corner for 15-15. An ace gives her a slender advantage, before she hammers a forehand past the American. Huge hold for Azarenka.

Williams 5-5* AzarenkaDanger signs for Williams at 0-15, but Azarenka can't take advantage, and she sends a second serve return long of the baseline. She keeps herself in the game though, forcing Williams to frame the ball for 30-30. The American moves to game point, but concedes the softest of double faults. That's pure guts from Williams. After a foot-fault is called after an ace, she responds with a big forehand winner. WHAT A DROP SHOT! Azarenka slices the ball from the back of the court which drops inches over the net. Wow, this match is getting good. Two more winners paint the lines, but Williams holds firm to hold with an ace.

Williams *6-5 AzarenkaBREAK! Williams thumps a return straight back Azarenka for 0-15, but two glaring errors allow her opponent back into the game. It's all or nothing for Williams at the moment, replying with a forehand winner after another mistake, before forcing deuce with a sharp return. HUGE cross-court winner from Serena, who looks in the zone now. It's break point, which is taken when she clips the line with a return from a second serve.

Williams 7-5* AzarenkaSET! There isn't much difference between the two, but Serena is showing the experience of a champion. She looks decisive off both sides, and the American is soon into a 30-0 lead, partly down to a backhand winner down the line. It's three set points after Azarenka floats a return long, and she wastes no time in taking the first, with the Belorussian dragging a forehand wide.

Williams *7-5 1-0 AzarenkaBREAK! Azarenka needs a solid start to this set, but she quickly falls 0-30 down. Williams is throwing everything at her opponent, and she brings up two breaks point with a backhand winner down the line. She looks impeccable off that wing. She saves the first, but a Williams return is too hot to handle, and the American has the break.

Williams 7-5 2-0* AzarenkaThere's an air of invincibility about Williams now. Azarenka isn't doing a lot wrong, but two aces help take Williams to 40-0. The American throws up a 65mph second serve, but after she connects with the return, it's point over.

Williams *7-5 2-1 AzarenkaAzarenka simply must hold this or else this match will be as good as over. The Belorussian takes the first two points, but she is pegged back by Williams. However, the world number two manages to hang on after Williams nets twice, and she is on the board for the second set.

Williams 7-5 3-1* AzarenkaWilliams catches the baseline to go 15-0 ahead, but she then nets a seemingly easy put-away. Azarenka is freeing up her shoulders and it pays dividends to bring up two break points. An ace saves the first, and after Azarenka goes long on back-to-back points, Williams wallops a serve down the middle to take the game.

Williams *7-5 4-1 AzarenkaBREAK! Azarenka drills a forehand winner behind Williams for 30-0, but her first double fault of the final hands Williams a chance, and the American displays her power once again with a cross-court winner. Oh dear, Victoria. Two more double faults and Serena has the double break. The Belorussian player has capitulated.

Williams 7-5 4-2* AzarenkaBREAK! To be fair to Azarenka, she is still fighting, but Williams is picking off winners at will. But what's this? Two mistakes from the American hand break points to Azarenka. Williams saves the first, but Azarenka catches the line with a backhand, and she recovers one of the breaks.

Williams *7-5 4-3 AzarenkaAzarenka is showing plenty of guts. She commits another double fault for 30-30, but she gets out of trouble with some monster hitting, sealing the game with a forehand into the corner. This isn't over...

Williams 7-5 5-3* AzarenkaThe crowd are on their feet, and rightly so. The pair play a glorious point, which concludes when Williams whips a forehand cross-court for 30-0. That's soon followed up with an ace, before Azarenka goes long to leave Williams one game away from a 17th major title.

Williams *7-5 5-4 AzarenkaAzarenka must hold to stay in the match, and she opens up a 30-15 advantage when Williams blazes a return long. WHAT A SHOT FROM AZARENKA, who ends a lengthy rally with a forehand into the back-corner of the court. Serena will return to serve for the championship.

Williams 7-5 5-5* AzarenkaBREAK! Brutal from Williams, who steps in to fire a backhand straight back at her opponent, but have nerves started to set in? Williams double-faults, before sending a routine baseline shot over the mark. She then does the same with a backhand and it's two break points for Azarenka! A forehand winner saves the first, but she dumps another shot long of the baseline. We are back on level terms in this set!

Williams *7-5 6-5 AzarenkaBREAK! I get the impression that Williams is slightly perturbed. She powers a backhand winner past Azarenka, before her opponets commits her fifth double fault. A second serve barely reaches Williams, and the American gives it the treatment to bring up three break points. Azarenka survives a hawkeye challenge by a millimetre and she is soon back at 30-40 after Williams shanks a backhand. Williams has the break though, after Azarenka disappointingly dumps a shot into the net! Williams will return to serve for the championship for a second time.

Williams 7-5 6-6* AzarenkaBREAK! Williams opens up with an ace, but Azarenka fires back with a massive backhand. The American looks tense, and she pulls a backhand into the tramlines to let her opponent in. Serena gets back to 30-30, but another nervy shot goes into the net and Azarenka has another break point! Blimey! Williams dumps a second serve into the net, and we have a tie-break!

Williams *7-5 6-6 (3-3) AzarenkaWilliams nets a second-serve return, but she replies with a serve to the body that Azarenka can do nothing with. Williams looks focused and after holding her second service point, a cross-court winner brings up the mini-break. Azarenka goes for broke on the net, and a drive volley catches the back of the line. Unbelievable stuff from Azarenka, who drills a shot straight at the advancing Williams, who nets an attempted drop-volley. We are at 3-3 at the change of ends.

Williams *7-5 6-6 (6-6) AzarenkaWilliams drills down a 122mph serve, and it helps her edge into the lead. The American goes long on the next, indicating that she is struggling with the wind, and a lob on the next drifts long and Azarenka is two points away from forcing a decider. Oh my! The wind plays its part again, and Williams nets! Two set points to Azarenka. A fine serve out wide saves the first, and the second is saved with some superb shots that force Azarenka to net!

Williams *7-5 6-7 (6-8) AzarenkaSET! Azarenka brings up another set point with a controlled serve that Williams hits wide, and this time, she takes it! The American goes long and we are into a decider.

Williams 7-5 6-7 1-0* AzarenkaWilliams opens with a double fault, before smashing the ball into the net. She responds in timely fashion, and a forehand from inside the court take her to 40-30, before Azarenka frames a baseline shot. It's worth remembering that Azarenka was two breaks down in that second set. It was a remarkable turnaround.

Williams *7-5 6-7 1-1 AzarenkaAzarenka miscues again on the first point, but she wrong-foots Williams to get back on level terms. The Belorussian moves to game point, but Williams cracks a forehand onto the line to stay competitive. It's not enough though, as she nets tamely on the next point.

Williams 7-5 6-7 2-1* AzarenkaHow many times is Williams hitting the ball into the net? It seems like it is every other point, but she does reach 40-30. The next point is tight, but Azarenka finally nets from the baseline and we remain on serve.

Williams *7-5 6-7 3-1 AzarenkaBREAK! Neither player looks like wilting under the pressure, and that looks to be the case here. Azarenka eases into a 40-15 lead, before Williams hits back with some aggressive play. A double fault hands Williams deuce, and after saving a break point, Azarenka commits another service error to hand the American the initiative.

Williams 7-5 6-7 4-1* AzarenkaWilliams looks back in the groove. One of the lobs of the tournament see her take a 30-0 lead, before a 126mph...I repeat, a 126mph...ace takes the world number to game point. Another serve flies past Azarenka and Williams walks to her chair with the determined stare of a champion in waiting.

Williams *7-5 6-7 5-1 AzarenkaBREAK! The first half of the game is littered with errors, and Williams has 30-30. Azarenka looks nervous, and another mistake gifts her opponent break point. That could be that I think. Azarenka's forehand hits the top of the tape and Williams will serve for the champion for the third time. Can she do it?

Williams 7-5 6-7 6-1* AzarenkaSERENA WILLIAMS WINS THE US OPEN!

Williams 7-5 6-7 6-1* AzarenkaAzarenka nets on the first point, but she powers a forehand back at the American to earn 15-15. WHAT A POINT! Serena makes a complete hash of a drop shot, but Azarenka's reply is straight onto the racquet of Williams, who lobs her opponent with the ball sneaking inside the baseline. Williams has TWO CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS, but the first is saved after Azarenka serves a reminder about her power. However, she can't so anything about the second, sending yet another shot long and Serena Williams wins her fifth US Open title.

12.39amWhat an incredible final, which was also the longest women's final at Flushing Meadows. Azarenka showed plenty of heart, but the match always hinged on the performance of Williams, and once she regained her groove in the final set, there was only ever going to be one winner.

12.40amAzarenka can be proud of her display, but she is visibly distraught at losing her second three-set US Open final in a row. She will bounce back though.

12.41amWilliams has recorded her 17th Grand Slam success with tonight's victory. That's some achievement!

12.43amThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match, but please stick around on the main site for all of the reaction from New York. Remember, there's also the men's final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal coming up tomorrow too. Goodbye for now.

Serena Williams celebrates her win against Galina Voskoboeva during the second round of the US Open on August 29, 2013
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