Sam Stosur became the first Australian woman in 38 years to win the U.S. Open when she upset American Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday in an ill-tempered final.
Stosur played the match of her life to defeat the most formidable player of her generation and capture her first grand slam title, spoiling American hopes of a home-bred champion on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I had one of my best days and I'm very fortunate that I had it on this stage in New York," Stosur said during an on-court interview.
"Ever since I started playing it was a dream of mine to be here one day. I don't really know what to say. Serena, you are a fantastic player, great champion and have done wonders for our sport."
Williams, bidding for a fourth U.S. Open crown, failed to reproduce her best after sailing to the final without dropping a set and let her frustrations boil over.
Throughout the second set she repeatedly argued with the chair umpire in a petulant display that rekindled memories of her ungracious exit from the 2009 U.S. Open.
"If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way because you're out of control," Williams said.
While Williams berated the official, Stosur remained a model of composure. The 27-year-old dominated the match from the outset and fully deserved her win, played in front of a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
Stosur, one of the fittest and biggest-hitting players in the women's game, put Williams under pressure from the outset with some thunderbolt returns that pinned the American behind the baseline and attacked her backhand, forcing her to make errors.
Stosur broke Williams's serve twice in the first set, which she wrapped up in 31 minutes, then three times in the second while losing her own serve once.
"She played really well, she's a great player," Williams said. "I tried my hardest but she kept hitting winners and there was nothing I could do."
Williams went into the match as the overwhelming favourite despite having not played at Flushing Meadows since her foul-mouthed tirade in 2009 that earned her a hefty fine and a two-year probation.
She was sidelined for almost a year because of health complications after she cut her foot on glass after winning at Wimbledon in 2010 and had been on her best behaviour until she blew up during the second set.
She was docked a point after screaming "come on" just as Stosur was about to try and return a shot and then was given a code violation in the next game for screaming at the umpire.
"It wouldn't have made a difference," Williams said about the point she lost.
"Six month ago in the hospital I couldn't even stand up, but thanks to my parents and sisters and everyone else I'm here. I'm emotional, I might start crying. I'm happy to be here, it's really good."
Stosur, seeded ninth, became the first Australian woman to win the U.S. Open title since Margaret Court in 1973. The last Australian woman to win any grand slam was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Stosur, who was better known as a doubles player, emerged as Australia's best prospect in years when she made the final at the French Open last year but lost to Italy's Francesca Schiavone.
Photograph: Jay Mandal