NEW YORK - American Serena Williams defeated second seed Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 7-5 in the women's US Open final Sunday for her ninth career Grand Slam title and the world number one ranking.
There was plenty at stake as fourth-seeded Williams received the WTA's top ranking, a spot she previously held for 57 weeks beginning in 2002.
"I am so excited," Williams said. "I wasn't even going for number one. It is just an added bonus."
Williams, playing in her first US Open final in six years, also picked up 1.5 million dollars in first-place prize money and moved into third on the all-time money list, just ahead of Martina Navratilova.
The 26-year-old Williams won her 32nd career singles title and wiped away some of the disappointment of losing to sister Venus in the Wimbledon final earlier this year.
"It was magical. It was like everything coming together like magic," Williams said.
Williams fired three aces and hammered 44 winners in the two hour, four minute match in front of a crowd of 19,000 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The women's final was originally scheduled for Saturday but had to be switched to Sunday after the remnants of tropical storm Hanna washed out part of Saturday's schedule.
Williams, who also won the US Open in 1999 and 2002, is enjoying a revival in her game as she stormed through all seven rounds at Flushing Meadows without dropping a set en route to posting her fourth singles title of 2008.
On Sunday, she kept the Jankovic off guard by imposing her powerful serve and strong ground strokes on the Serbian.
The 21-year-old Jankovic came out with more spark in the opening set, taking an early break to go up 2-1.
But Williams broke back in the fourth, sixth and 10th games to take the set.
Williams clinched the match on her second match point, blasting a backhand winner into the open side of the court.
She celebrated by throwing her racket into the air and then jumping up and down before going to the net to shake Jankovic's hand.
"Last time I played Jelena I got up had a lot of match points and she is the kind of player not going to give it to you. I knew I just had to take it. I had to go for it," Williams said.
Jankovic, who was competing in her first Grand Slam final, said she squandered her chances on the big points.
"I am disappointed that I lost," Jankovic said. "It is not pleasing when you lose. I felt I had her because she was really tired at the end of the second set.
"Tonight I gave everything. I had had my chances in the first set and second set. I had some unlucky points I should have won them and I didn't.
"Serena played better tonight. She was too good."
Jankovic blew her chance to force a third set as she was up 5-3, 40-0 but then made three-straight unforced errors to let Williams off the hook.
Both players didn't want to give an inch, even driving the ball directly at each other on a couple of net points.
But the mood was lighter during the post-match ceremony as both players thanked their family and friends and even joked around a bit.
"How much do I get?" asked Jankovic, who earned 750,000 dollars as the runner-up.
Earlier in the tournament some of the players and the media had accused Jankovic of over-dramatizing some of her injuries.
She joked to reporters after Sunday's match that the runner-up trophy she received on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court could have been for best "leading role."
"I was thinking my trophy should be an Oscar," Jankovic said.
This is the ninth time in history that a Grand Slam final has featured two women battling for number one in the world.
Williams surpasses former No. 1 ranked Ana Ivanovic who held the title for 12 weeks before being knocked out in the second round of the final major championship of the season.
The last time the world number one changed hands in a Grand Slam final was 13 years ago when Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in a three-set French Open final.