01:32 - Source: CNN
Serena Williams wins the US Open

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Serena Williams reflects on record-equaling 18th grand slam title at U.S. Open

Williams victory sees her match career totals of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova

World No. 1 is now four off Steffi Graf's Open era tally of 22 grand slam singles titles

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CNN —  

Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women’s game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.

The world No. 1 clinched her third straight U.S. Open title at Flushing Meadows on Sunday and in doing so sealed an 18th career grand slam singles title, equaling the feats of both Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who became a naturalized American citizen in 1975 after defecting from Czechoslovakia.

It may have been a case of when and not if Williams would reach the totals amassed by her feted compatriots in the 1970s and 1980s, but the 32-year-old is still finding the achievement hard to comprehend.

“”I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem right – Chrissie, Martina, Serena, it’s like oh my goodness!” Williams told CNN’s Rachel Nichols following her 6-3 6-3 win over Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

“It feels great because you hear these names growing up … you don’t think about yourself like that,” Williams added.

“You just think, I want to work hard and do the best I can. Then you start chasing titles, then you start chasing legends and it’s just a great feeling.”

A 17-year-old Williams won her first grand slam singles titles at Flushing Meadows in 1999, beating Switzerland’s Martina Hingis to become the first African American woman to win a grand slam tournament since Althea Gibson in 1958.

Fifteen years on, Williams now has six U.S. Open singles titles to her name – a feat only matched by Evert in the Open era – to go with five titles at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon and two at the French Open.

Success at this year’s final slam caps a season of highs and lows for Williams who has won six WTA titles so far this year but, until now, had struggled on the biggest stage.

In January, Williams exited the Australian Open in the fourth round and followed it with shock second and third round defeats at Roland Garros and Wimbledon respectively.

“(It’s been) a super crazy year – I expect so much out of myself. So definitely the highs have been great. Getting the 18th (title) here at the Open – I think it was fitting.”

Williams will now be eyeing Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 grand slam singles titles.

Read more: Serena Williams overpowers Caroline Wozniacki