NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Stosur pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the history of women's Grand Slam tennis finals by comprehensively outplaying a frustrated Serena Williams and claiming the U.S. Open title with a 6-2, 6-3 win on Sunday.
Samantha Stosur of Australia hits a return during her women's finals match against Serena Williams at the 2011 U.S. Open Sunday in New York. Stosur stunned the three-time champion 6-2, 6-3.
Sunday, Sep 11, 2011 Updated at 7:30 PM CDT
Stosur claimed her first Grand Slam singles title and became only the second Australian to win the U.S. Open crown by dominating a match that she was widely expected to lose to the home favorite.
Williams lost her composure, arguing with the chair umpire after being docked a point for shouting out in the midst of a rally. It was reminiscent of the ugly tirade against a line judge two years ago.
The overwhelming favorite for the match, Williams suffered only her second-ever loss in a Grand Slam final to someone other than sister Venus; she was beaten by Maria Sharapova in the 2004 Wimbledon decider.
"I had one of my best days," Stosur said. "I'm very fortunate to do it on this stage."
Hitting powerful strokes from the baseline, and looking fitter than her opponent despite a series of grueling matches over the tournament, the ninth-seeded Stosur became the first Australian woman to win a major championship since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Five-time champion Margaret Court is the only other Australian to win the U.S. Open.
Only 2-9 in tournament finals before beating Williams, Stosur made the U.S. Open the third consecutive Grand Slam tournament with a first-time women's major champion, after Li Na at the French Open, and Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon.
"She played really, really well. She's a great player, and it's good to see," Williams said. "I tried my hardest and she kept hitting winners and I was, 'Oh my God, what am I doing?'"
This was only the 27-year-old Stosur's third title at any tour-level event, and what a way to do it. She took advantage of Williams' so-so serving and stayed steady throughout — finishing with 12 unforced errors to Williams' 25 — despite the bizarre events that unfolded in the second set.
Down a set and facing a break point in the first game of the second, the 13-time major champion hit a forehand and shouted, "Come on!" as Stosur reached down for a backhand. Chair umpire Eva Asderaki ruled that Williams hindered Stosur's ability to complete the point and awarded it to Stosur — putting her ahead 1-0 in that set.
Williams went over to talk to Asderaki, saying, "I'm not giving her that game."
Williams also said: "I promise you, that's not cool. That's totally not cool."
Some fans began booing, delaying the start of the next game as both players waited for the commotion to subside.
Tournament director Brian Earley said Asderaki's ruling was proper.
But Williams had trouble putting the whole episode behind her.
During the changeover two games later, Williams continued to talk to Asderaki, saying, "You're out of control. ... You're a hater, and you're just unattractive inside. ... And I never complain. Wow."
Williams also told the official: "Really, don't even look at me."
When Stosur wrapped up the match with a forehand winner, Williams refused the customary post-match handshake with the chair umpire.
"I hit a winner, but I guess it didn't count," Williams said during the trophy presentation. "It wouldn't have mattered in the end. Sam played really well."
Asked after the match about being awarded the point because of Williams' shout, Stosur said: "It had never happened (to me) before. I was trying to see what was happening. I'm aware of the rule. It was something I'd never had to deal with before."
This sort of thing has happened before at the U.S. Open to Williams, who won the tournament in 1999, 2002 and 2008.
In the 2009 semifinals against Kim Clijsters, Williams was called for a foot fault that set her off on a profanity-laced outburst at a line judge. Williams lost a point there, and because it came on match point, Clijsters won. That led to an immediate $10,000 fine from the U.S. Tennis Association and later a record $82,500 fine from the Grand Slam administrator, who also put Williams on a "probationary period" at Grand Slam tournaments in 2010 and 2011.
Stosur was playing in only her second major final — she was the runner-up at the 2010 French Open — while Williams was in her 17th.
For all of her edges in experience, Williams was the one who started a bit shakily. She was back in action less than 18 hours after winning her semifinal over No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday.
Her serve — usually one of her top shots — was problematic, slower and less accurate than usual: Only three of her initial 14 first serves landed in, and they hovered around 100 mph.
Williams pushed a backhand long to get broken and fall behind 2-1. And she dumped a backhand into the net to lose serve again, making Stosur's lead 5-2. When Stosur smacked a forehand winner moments later, she had taken 12 points in a row and owned the first set.
That was the first set Williams had lost in seven matches during this U.S. Open, a run that included four victories over women ranked in the top 20. Entering the final, Williams was 18-0 on hard courts this season, a full-throttle comeback after missing nearly a full year because of a series of health scares, including cuts on her feet from glass at a restaurant, two foot operations, clots in her lungs and a gathering of blood beneath the skin of her stomach.
She was ranked 175th after a fourth-round exit at Wimbledon, but hadn't lost since then until Sunday and was seeded 28th at the U.S. Open.
"It's been an arduous road. Six months ago in the hospital, I never thought I'd be standing here today," Williams said. "I didn't think I'd be standing, let alone here."
Stosur dealt with her own health issues that could have sidetracked her career, and she became the oldest U.S. Open champion since Martina Navratilova won at 30 in 1987.
Once a doubles specialist — she's won Grand Slam titles in women's and mixed — Stosur only once got past the third round in singles at a major tournament before reaching the 2009 semifinals at the French Open.
Her game has improved dramatically since she returned to the tour in April 2008 after about nine months away while recovering from Lyme disease, a tick-born illness that can affect a person's joints and nervous system. She was ranked 149th two years ago; on Monday, she'll rise to No. 7.
Meanwhile, 38-year-old American Lisa Raymond surpassed Billie Jean King as the oldest Grand Slam women's doubles champion as she teamed with Liezel Huber for a 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) victory over defending champions Vania King and Yaroslava Shedova.
Britain's Oliver Golding won the boys' final and American Grace Min took out the girls' title.
Copyright Associated Press