Tennis’s New Star

Australian player Samantha Stosur beats American Serena Williams in the women’s final to win the U.S. Open

Sep 12, 2011 | By Joe Levit

Women’s tennis has a new champion. On Sunday, at Arthur Ashe stadium, in Queens, New York, Australia’s Samantha Stosur won the women’s U.S. Open title. She beat Serena Williams to take home her first Grand Slam title, winning in two sets 6-2, 6-3.

Despite the fact that Stosur was ranked higher than Williams going into the Open, and was deemed to have a better chance of taking the top prize, her win was startling. That’s because Stosur has never won a major tournament. Williams, however, is a three-time U.S. Open champion. Over the course of her career, she has won 13 Grand Slams. There are four Grand Slam tournaments a year. They are the Australian Open, the French Open, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, held in England. In more than a week of play leading up to Sunday’s finals match-up, Williams hadn’t lost a set. Still, Stosur came out ahead.

Stosur’s victory marks the first time an Australian woman has won a major tennis championship since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won at Wimbledon in 1980, thirty-one years ago. After the match, Cawley sent a text message to Stosur: "Twinkletoes, you finally have got what you deserved."

Australian player Samantha Stosur slams a backhand shot against Serena Williams during the Women’s Singles Final at the U.S. Open.
Australian player Samantha Stosur slams a backhand shot against Serena Williams during the Women’s Singles Final at the U.S. Open.

Stosur has been moving toward the top for some time. She was once a specialist at doubles, a style of tennis where a team of two players is matched against an opposing pair. But over the past several years, Stosur has been focusing on her singles play, and has moved into the top 10 in that category. Just last year Stosur was runner-up at the French Open.

Stosur has played against Williams in the past. Though Stosur had lost to Williams four times previously, she had also won twice. That experience helped boost her confidence going into Sunday’s match.

"I knew I had to go out there and play well and actually do it," Stosur said. "But I think having those victories in the past, for sure, made me feel a little bit more comfortable."

Tempers Flare

While Williams was dealing with a determined Stosur, she also got herself involved again in some controversy.

At one point in the match, Williams whipped a forehand shot deep to Stosur's backhand side and screamed out 'C'mon!' — figuring she had hit a shot that Stosur wouldn't reach. But Stosur stretched out and got a racket on the ball. Umpire Eva Asderaki called Williams for a hindrance. A hindrance is something that delays or disrupts the game. Because of the umpire’s decision, the point was awarded to Stosur, and she won the game.

Williams was upset by the umpire’s call. She lost her temper, and shouted at Asderaki. In response, Asderaki issued a warning for verbal abuse.

Despite the eruption of emotion, Williams admitted that the call didn’t determine the match. "I hit a winner but I guess it didn't count. It wouldn't have mattered in the end. Sam played really well."

For her part, Stosur stayed positive. “To go out and play the way I did was an unbelievable thing,” she said.

The men’s final, between top players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, was scheduled to begin Monday afternoon.