Interspersed between Wimbledon and her return home, though, Williams found time to make a quick detour to Bastad, where she defeated a game, but outgunned, Johanna Larsson in the final. Also extending their stays in Europe for an extra few weeks were Roberta Vinci and Simona Halep, who both continued to rack up the wins, taking home titles in Palermo and Budapest, respectively.
Just as she had 12 months ago, Dominika Cibulkova made a flying start stateside, upsetting Agnieszka Radwanska to triumph in Stanford. Down the road in Carlsbad, Samantha Stosur put a disappointing start to the summer behind her to overcome Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka en route to her first tournament victory in nearly two years, while over in Washington unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova sprung a surprise or two to defend her title at the International event.
Meanwhile, Williams' unusually busy schedule continued to reap dividends, with victory the Rogers Cup in Toronto and a run to the final in Cincinnati, where she was pipped on a final set tie-break by an on-song Azarenka.
As at Wimbledon, the form book went out of the window at the calendar's final major, with Radwanska, Sara Errani, Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber all coming unstuck before the quarterfinals. Despite these casualties, the last four line-up had a fairly familiar look about it, with Azarenka, Li Na and Williams joined by the joker in the pack, Flavia Pennetta.
After two one-sided semifinals, Azarenka and Williams were the two left standing and proceeded to write another engrossing chapter in their burgeoning rivalry. Across two hours of exhilarating tennis, Williams began like a freight train, before spluttering and ultimately reawakening in the final set to beat the Belarusian 75 67(6) 61 and secure her fifth US Open crown.