NEW YORK - Even before she began berating the chair umpire, things were not going well for Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final.
Her strokes were off-target. Her opponent, Sam Stosur, was playing better than ever. And Williams' deficit was growing more and more daunting.
So facing a break point at the start of the second set Sunday night, Williams ripped a forehand that she celebrated with her familiar yell of "Come on!" The problem, it turned out, was she screamed as Stosur was reaching for a backhand, so the point wasn't finished. The chair umpire awarded the point to Stosur, setting Williams off on a series of insults directed at the official, a scene far less ugly than — yet reminiscent of — the American's tirade at the same tournament two years ago.
In the end, Stosur's powerful shots and steadiness allowed her to beat Williams 6-2, 6-3 in a surprisingly lopsided upset for her first Grand Slam title. Stosur left the court as the U.S. Open champion; Williams' night ended with her facing possible disciplinary action.
A sampling of what Williams said to chair umpire Eva Asderaki:
Asked at her news conference whether she regretted any of her words, the 13-time Grand Slam champion rolled her eyes and replied: "I don't even remember what I said. It was just so intense out there. ... I guess I'll see it on YouTube."
She won't be the only one, for sure.
Matt Slocum / AP
Samantha Stosur kisses the US Open trophy after her 6-2, 6-3 victory.
"I'm still kind of speechless. I can't actually believe I won this tournament," Stosur said later, the silver U.S. Open trophy sitting a few feet away. "I guess to go out there and play the way I did is obviously just an unbelievable feeling, and you always hope and you want to be able to do that, but to actually do it, is unbelievable."
The ninth-seeded Stosur became the first Australian woman to win a major championship since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. Stosur received a text from the former player that read: "Twinkletoes, you finally have got what you deserved."
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.
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 finished with 12 unforced errors to Williams' 25.
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."
Spectators began jeering, delaying the start of the next game as both players waited for the noise to subside.
"It was probably the loudest I ever felt a crowd in my whole entire life. You're right in the middle of it. It was definitely a quite overwhelming feeling," Stosur said. "But once I hit that next ball in the court and started playing again, I felt settled. I guess it definitely could have been the big, pivotal point in the match."
The truth is, the outcome never really appeared to be in doubt.
Even Williams acknowledged as much.
"She was cracking 'em today," said Williams, whose five games matched her lowest total in 240 Grand Slam matches. "She definitely hit hard and just went for broke."
International Tennis Federation rules say: "If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point. However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player's own control (not including a permanent fixture)."
Williams said later she thought the last part of the rule applied — and the point should have been replayed — such as when one player's hat flies off during a point.
"I guess the rules of tennis are there for a reason," Stosur said. "She made the call that she felt was right."
In the heat of the moment, Williams had trouble putting the whole episode behind her and continued to berate Asderaki.
The chair umpire issued a code violation warning for verbal abuse, and the USTA said Earley would speak to the Asderaki and review tape to determine whether Williams would be fined. That decision will be announced Monday.
When Stosur wrapped up the match with a forehand winner, Williams refused the customary post-match handshake with the chair umpire.
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.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
A poor call during Williams' 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinal loss to Jennifer Capriati was cited as a main reason for the introduction of replay technology in tennis.
"It's just always something," said Williams' mother, Oracene Price. "And it seems to happen to us."
Because of rain during this year's tournament, the women's final was pushed from Saturday night to Sunday. It was preceded by a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, "9/11/01" was painted in white next to the blue court to commemorate the 10th anniversary, and the U.S. flag atop Arthur Ashe Stadium was at half-mast.
A couple of hours before stepping on court, Williams tweeted: "My Thoughts and prayers to all who lost loved ones on 9-11. I know the entire country is with you today. I'm playing for you today."
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.
"I felt like I was definitely the underdog," Stosur said.
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