That moment of joy didn’t last long.
Entering the final, Williams was 18-0 on hard courts this season, a full-throttle comeback after missing nearly a year because 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 was 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.
“It kind of made me open my eyes more that you don’t necessarily always get a second chance,” Stosur said. “I wanted to take every opportunity I had, and I have now been able to fulfill that.”