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Didn’t happen right away.

“Well, she’s a human being, you know, who has two feet, two legs, two hands,” Azarenka said. “It’s understandable.”

When Williams double-faulted, slapped a bad backhand into the net and pushed a forehand long, Azarenka broke at love for a 4-3 edge, then followed that up by holding for 5-3.

One game from the championship.

Azarenka was within two points of victory at 30-all in the next game, on Williams‘ serve, but couldn’t convert. When Azarenka served for the victory at 5-4, she showed the jitters that probably are understandable given that this was only her second career Grand Slam final, 17 fewer than Williams.

Azarenka made three errors in that game, including a forehand into the net that let Williams break her to 5-all. Williams kept whatever excitement she might have felt contained, face straight as possible, while her older sister, seven-time major champion Venus, smiled and clapped in the stands.

That was during a key stretch in which Williams took 10 of 12 points to go ahead 6-5. She then broke again to win, dropping onto her back on the court when Azarenka sent a backhand long to end it.

“Feels like there is no room for a mistake,” is the way Azarenka described trying to deal with Williams‘ game. “There is no room for a wrong decision.”

Azarenka, now 1-10 against Williams, slumped in her changeover chair, a white towel covering her head. Williams, meanwhile, kept saying, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” while scurrying over to share the joy with her mother and big sister.

“Being so close, it hurts deeply,” Azarenka said. “To know you don’t have it. You’re close; you didn’t get it.”

After her first-round loss at Roland Garros, Williams went back to work, getting help from Patrick Mouratoglou, a coach who runs a tennis academy in France. She’s 14-0 in Grand Slam matches since then; the Wimbledon trophy ended a two-year drought without a major title.

Mouratoglou came to New York with Williams, and he noticed the way she set aside her mid-match struggles.

“Players usually completely lose their confidence and they can’t get all of their tennis back. But she got all her tennis back. Like nothing happened,” he said. “This is what was most impressive. She’s not like the other players.”

It’s the fourth time in five years that the women’s final was pushed from Saturday to Sunday because of bad weather — Novak Djokovic faces Andy Murray in the fifth consecutive Monday men’s final — and when play began, Williams was good as can be, compiling a 16-2 advantage in winners through the first set.

She pounded big serves — she finished with 13 aces, at up to 125 mph — and big returns; smacked forehands and backhands out of Azarenka’s reach; even tossed in a terrific backhand lob to break for a 2-0 lead at the outset.

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