NEW YORK (Reuters) - World number one Serena Williams swept past good friend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3 6-3 in the U.S. Open final on Sunday to move into the record books with her 18th grand slam title.
The third straight and sixth overall U.S. Open crown for the 32-year-old American, her 18 career slams put her into a tie with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for fourth place on the all-time list.
Failing to get beyond the last 16 of the year’s first three slams, Williams sailed through the U.S. Open without dropping a set, finishing off Wozniacki in a snappy 75 minutes.
“It was a pleasure for me to win my first grand slam here and then this is number 18. I am really emotional,” Williams told the packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, her voice cracking as she tried to maintain composure. “I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”
For the 10th seeded Wozniacki, back in a grand slam final for the first time in five years, it was another frustrating end to a promising fortnight as she once again left Flushing Meadows empty handed, a major title still beyond her grasp.
The title came with a massive payday for Williams, who pocketed the $3 million winner’s purse along a $1 million bonus for winning the U.S. Series.
As Williams was receiving her checks she was joined on court by Navratilova and Evert, who presented her with an 18 carat gold Tiffany bracelet as the newest member of their grand slam club.
Margaret Court tops the list with 24 followed by Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19).
The most difficult part of the match for Williams appeared to be beating a player she calls one of her best friends.
Williams and Wozniacki vacationed together this summer and the world number one said she texts the Dane daily.
But once the match began, Williams, who has often had to face off against her sister Venus, again proved there are no friendships on the court as she simply overpowered her 24-year-old opponent.
The showdown between the current and former world number ones was hardly a showcase of tennis excellence, particularly in a ragged opening set that featured five consecutive breaks.
Williams, dressed in the same leopard print tennis dress she wore to open the tournament, held her first serve before the two players struggled through the run of breaks with the American taking a 5-2 lead.
Not until the eight game did Wozniacki finally held serve but by then Williams had begun to settle into the match, clinching the opening set with a blistering backhand winner.
Williams would keep up the pressure with a break to open the second and by the end had an exhausted Wozniacki running from corner-to-corner.
Editing by Gene Cherry