NEW YORK — Serena Williams flung her racket straight up and jumped for joy, hopping and skipping and screaming.
It sure had been awhile since she'd won like this.
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Displaying the talent and tenacity that helped her dominate tennis earlier in the decade, Williams outlasted Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 Sunday night in a thrill-a-minute match full of marvelous strokes and momentum swings to win her third U.S. Open championship and ninth Grand Slam title.
And there was this "added bonus," as Williams termed it: She returns to the top of the rankings.
As the women met at the net afterward, Williams felt compelled to say to Jankovic, "I'm sorry I got so excited."
No apology necessary.
Four times a single point from heading to a third set, Williams was relentless. She took the final four games and took the title without dropping a set.
"Serena was a better player tonight," Jankovic said. "She was just too good tonight."
It was Williams' first triumph at Flushing Meadows since 2002, and it guaranteed that the American will lead the rankings Monday for the first time since August 2003 — the longest gap between stints at No. 1 for a woman.
It was Jankovic's first Grand Slam final, and she seemed to be having the time of her life. She smiled even after losing points. Jankovic was ranked No. 1 for one week last month and would have returned there by winning the U.S. Open.
Murray stuns Nadal
Andy Murray finished a stunning, rain-interrupted 6-2, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Rafael Nadal to reach his first Grand Slam final and stop the No. 1-ranked Nadal's 19-match winning streak in majors.
Trying to become the first British man to win a major since Fred Perry at the 1936 U.S. Open, Murray will face four-time defending champion Roger Federer in the final.
Murray won the first two sets against Nadal and was down a break at 3-2 in the third when play was suspended Saturday. Nadal made a stand Sunday, taking the third set and going ahead 3-1 in the fourth.
"It was almost slipping away," Murray said.
But he took five of the last six games, breaking Nadal twice and ending the Spaniard's bid to make his first U.S. Open final.