Maria Sharapova claimed her second grand slam title with superb straight-sets win over favourite Justine Henin-Hardenne in the US Open final.
The Russian third set produced some of her best tennis to overcome the second-seeded Belgian 6-4 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.
It was 19-year-old Sharapova’s first major title since winning Wimbledon in 2004 and denied 2003 champion Henin-Hardenne what would have been a sixth grand slam win.
Henin-Hardenne broke Sharapova on her first service game to take an early 2-0 lead but the Russian immediately responded to level at 2-2.
She then claimed the crucial break in the ninth game and then went on to serve out for the set.
The second set was another tight affair but Sharapova consistently played the better shots and claimed the decisive break of serve in the ninth game.
``She played great tennis these last two weeks and she really deserved her victory,'' Henin-Hardenne said during the trophy presentation.
Sharapova made a point to acknowledge women’s sports trailblazer Billie Jean King in her on-court remarks after the win.
“I would like to thank Billie Jean King for being such an amazing woman,” Sharapova said. “Without her, we would not be standing here today.”