World number one Serena Williams won her 18th Grand Slam title at last, overpowering Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday to capture her sixth US Open crown.
The world number one, shut out in the first three majors of the year, ended a year of waiting as she joined Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 majors — trailing only the 22 of Steffi Graf on the Open era list and six behind the all-time record held by Margaret Court.
Williams, who turns 33 later this month, said the goal of an 18th Grand Slam had hung over her "because I was joining Chrissy and Martina, someone I never thought me, Serena Williams, would be in that name group.
"Who am I?" said Williams, who grinned with delight as Evert and Navratilova presented her with a gold bracelet bearing an "18" charm.
"I never thought you would mention my name with such greats and legends."
Williams lifted the trophy at Flushing Meadows for the third straight year, joining Evert as the only woman in the Open era to win three titles in a row and matching Evert's six US Open triumphs.
She also offered words of encouragement to her beaten foe, her friend and confidant as both endured difficult months this year.
"Congratulations to Caroline, she knows the struggles I have had. She's a real nice person, a great friend. We text each other all the time.
"You will win a Grand Slam title soon," Williams said.
But former world number one Wozniacki, owner of 22 WTA titles, still has that gaping hole on her resume.
The Dane was just 19 when she lost to Kim Clijsters in the 2009 US Open final, and she hadn't returned to a Grand Slam title match until Sunday.
"Serena, you deserve it. You played better than me today and you deserve to be the champion," Wozniacki said.
"You are an inspiration on the court and off it. You're an unbelievable champion and a great friend. The drinks are on you tonight."