Despite sitting out for a year, being plagued by injury and a serious illness, Serena Williams fought her way back, winning the US Open series and slamming her way to six straight wins, reaching the finals without dropping a set.

On her road to the finals, she aced her way to wins over the No. 4 seed, Victoria Azarenka. She then crushed the world’s No. 1 player, Caroline Wozniacki, in a straight set, 6-2, 6-3, semi-final win that set up the women’s championship match.

With everyone practically giving the championship match to Williams, Samantha Stosur pulled off the upset, cruising to a surprising straight set, 6-2, 6-3 win over Williams, who was on a straight path to Grand Slam championship No. 14. In an on-court interview, Williams said that she was happy to be standing there as a runner-up. “I was happy to be standing anywhere, because six months ago I didn’t know if I would be standing at all,” she said.

“I definitely wanted to win today because of 9/11 and everything that New Yorkers and Americans and-you know, 10 years ago I was actually at the same stage right before it all happened. It was a really deep moment for all of us,” Williams added.

Williams was aware she was the very last American standing other than Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, who won the women’s doubles championship just before Williams took to the court for the match against Stosur. “Obviously, as the last American left, I wanted to do well, but I didn’t. I mean, it didn’t work out the way I planned. Like I said earlier, my prayers are always with, you know, the victims and everyone who worked so hard and risked their lives for our safety. It’s unbelievable really.

“I think I definitely was a little more tired than expected, but I’m not here to make excuses. I really wanted to put it all out there and give all the credit to Sam today, because she played really well.”

Samantha Stosur, smiling, said, “All of a sudden, yeah, I turned around and she was right there next to me, which is kind of unusual. No, she was great, actually. She just said, ‘How do you feel? Are you really excited?’ It’s unbelievable. I played really well.

“I was really surprised to see her sitting next to me at that moment in time. I guess it shows what a nice person she is and what a true champion she is of the sport. To be able to separate the result a few minutes later and be able to come over and congratulate your opponent, I thought [that] was pretty classy.”

Williams’ sister Venus retired from the tournament, after winning her first-round match, due to illness. Hopefully she can return soon.