A look at each winner of the U.S. Open women's singles title since the open era began in 1968.
VIRGINIA WADE — 1968
Wade turned pro at the start of the open era in 1968. In the ‘68 finals of the U.S. Open, Wade defeated Billie Jean King in straight sets. It was the first of three Grand Slam singles championships during her almost 20 year career.
MARGARET COURT — 1969-70, ‘73
In 1969, she defeated Nancy Richey of the United States for her first Open win. She would win three of the four Grand Slam titles that year. In 1970, she would sweep the Grand Slam tournaments becoming the first woman during the open era and the second woman in history to do so. Her final Open win came in 1973 when she beat fellow Australian Evonne Goolagong.
BILLIE JEAN KING — 1971-72, ‘74
King won her first U.S. Open, defeating Chris Evert in the semifinals and Rosie Casals in the finals. It was her only Grand Slam win that year, but she did win 17 tournaments, the most in a year during her career. At the 1972 U.S. Open, King didn’t lose a single set en route to a finals win over Kerry Melville Reid. In 1974, she again defeated Evonne Goolagong.
CHRIS EVERT — 1975-78, ‘80, ‘82
When you look at the history of the U.S. Open, Chris Evert’s name comes up numerous times. She is the only female to have won the Open six times, which includes four consecutive titles, which is still a record. Need more? She holds the record for the most consecutive singles victories at the Open with 31. She also reached the finals six consecutive years between 1975-80.
TRACY AUSTIN — 1979, ‘81
Austin became the youngest female to ever win the U.S. Open in 1979 at the age of 16. She beat the legendary Chris Evert that year, who was looking to a record fifth straight U.S. Open title. In 1981, she was the third seed and defeated fourth-seeded Martina Navrátilová for her last title. Her career was cut short dur to a series of injuries and a near-fatal car accident.
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA — 1983-84, 1986-87
Navratilova reached the U.S. Open final five consecutive times from 1983-87 beating Chris Evert two straight years. In 1987, she won the women's singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles at the U.S. Open becoming the third player to ever achieve that feat at one event.
HANA MANDLIKOVA — 1985
To win her first U.S. Open, Hana Mandlikova (left) had to go through two brand-name tennis players. She defeated top seeded Chris Evert in the semifinals and then the second seeded Martina Navratilova in the finals. Mandlikova was the runner-up at the U.S. Open in 1980 and 1982.
STEFFI GRAF — 1988-89, ‘93, 1995-96
Considered by many in the tennis world as the best female player of all-time, Graf won her first U.S. Open in 1988 en route to winning her first Grand Slam. Graf beat Martina Navratilova in 1989 after losing to her at the Open in 1987. She defeated Monica Seles back-to-back years for her last U.S. Open titles.
GABRIELA SABATINI — 1990
Sabatini reached her first Grand Slam singles final in 1988 and lost to Steffi Graf, who had won the three previous Grand Slam singles events that year. Sabatini avenged that loss in 1990 when she beat Graf, 6—2, 7—6.
MONICA SELES — 1991-92
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Seles dominated the women’s circuit in the early 1990s evident by her back-to-back U.S. Open titles. During a 1993 match in Germany, a man rushed the court and stabbed Seles in the back with a knife. She spent the next two years away from tennis before returning in 1995.
ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO — 1994
Sanchez Vicario had a long rivalry with Steffi Graf as they faced each other seven times in Grand Slam singles finals. Sanchez Vicario only won two of those finals against Graf, one of which was the 1994 U.S. Open. Graf dominated the first set shutting out Sanchez Vicario, 6-1. Sanchez Vicario roared back winning the next two sets, 7—6 (3), 6—4.
MARTINA HINGIS — 1997
Hingis had a banner year in 1997 winning every Grand Slam singles title except the French Open. At the U.S. Open, she defeated a young Venus Williams in the finals, 6-0, 6-4.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT ? 1998
After losing to Martina Hingis at the semifinals the year before, the two met in the finals in 1998. Davenport won in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. Davenport finished her career with three Grand Slam singles tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in 1996.
SERENA WILLIAMS - 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012
Serena Williams won her first of 13 Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows in 1999. The 18-year-old phenom beat 1997 champion Martina Hingis in straight sets, 6-3 and 7-6. Williams would take down sister Venus in the 2002 finals for her second Open title, one year after Venus had beaten Serena. Then, in 2008, Williams returned to the finals for the first time in six years and defeated Jelena Jankovic in straight sets. IN 2012, she rallied to defeat Victoria Azarenka.
VENUS WILLIAMS - 2000, 2001
Venus Williams beat a pair of Americans for her two Open titles. In 2000, Williams followed up her sister Serena's victory in 2009 by beating Lindsay Davenport in straight sets. The following year, Venus and Serena met in the finals, with Venus coming out on top, 6-2 and 6-4.
JUSTINE HENIN - 2003, 2007
Justine Henin ended a five-year American run at the U.S. Open, beating fellow countrywoman Kim Clijsters in straight sets. The seven-time Grand Slam winner returned to the Open final four years later to top 2004 champion Svetlanta Kuznetsova.
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA — 2004
Following her U.S. Open finals loss the previous year, Svetlana Kuznetsova bounced back the following year to beat fellow Russian Elena Dementieva. Kuznetsova secured her spot in history becoming the first Russian to win at the U.S. Open. In 2007, she was the runner-up to Justine Henin.
KIM CLIJSTERS — 2005, ‘09-10
Winning her first U.S. Open in 2005 was probably a very special moment for Kim Clijsters. Her 2009 win was extra special as she came out of retirement and was given a wild card to enter the U.S. Open. She defeated No. 3 Venus Williams in the fourth round and defending champ and No. 2 seed Serena Williams in the semis. Her comeback was complete when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki 7—5, 6—3. She was the first ever wild card entry to win the Open.
MARIA SHARAPOVA - 2006
One of the most dominant women's tennis players of the 21st century, Sharapova's 2006 U.S. Open win was her second Grand Slam title, coming two years after a win at Wimbledon. Sharapova was the second Russian player, along with Svetlana Kuznetsova, to win in a three-year period; prior to Kuznetsova's win, Russia had never had a representative in the Open final, let alone a winner.
SAM STOSUR — 2011
A major underdog against Serena Williams, Sam Stosur shocked the American in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3. However, overshadowing her win were on-court theatrics by Williams, who got into a dispute with an official. Stosur's win was the first by an Australian woman since 1980, when Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon.