Serena Williams captured her fifth US Open title and 17th career Grand Slam singles crown after defeating Victoria Azarenka 7-5 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 in Sunday's final.
With her second title in a row at Flushing Meadows, the 31-year-old American became the oldest Open Era women's winner in US Open history, 293 days older than Australian Margaret Court when she set the prior mark in 1973, and the Open Era's third-oldest Grand Slam women's champion.
Heading into the contest in New York, the world No 1 hadn't lost a set in her previous six matches but was bothered by the brutal swirling wind and Azarenka's strong play.
Seemingly in control in the second set, Williams was surprisingly broken while serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5.
After Azarenka took the tiebreaker, Williams threw her racket in disgust.
But she soon regained her composure in the third set, breaking for a 3-1 lead when Azarenka double-faulted before capturing the title on the second match point of a thrilling, two hour 45 minute final.
She jumped around the court in celebration as Azarenka sobbed into her towel, a beaten finalist on Arthur Ashe once again.
After her win, Williams said: "Victoria played unbelievable, and what a great match. Vika's such a great fighter and that's why she's been able to win multiple grand slams, so it was never over until match point."
Williams' success moved her to within one of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova's 18 slam crowns and level with Roger Federer.
She won $3.6 million, including a $1 million bonus for her success as the leading player of the American hard-court season.
She is the first top-seeded champion since Justine Henin in 2007 and the first to defend the women's crown since Kim Clijsters in 2010.
Azarenka conceded the better player had won, saying: "It is a tough loss. I gave it my all, we showed our hearts, we fought, but it was well deserved and congratulations Serena."