Victoria Azarenka completed a comeback win over Serena Williams to move into the final of the 2020 US Open where she will play Naomi Osaka. Both players will be bidding to win for their third Grand Slam titles.
The Belarusian, who had fallen to 978th in the world in 2017 and had played in only two tournaments in the lead-up to the Cincinnati Open, clinched a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over the 23-time Grand Slam champion to set up a repeat of the Cincinnati final.
Azarenka looked like she had run out of steam following a run of wins at the Cincinnati Open and here at the US Open as Serena blitzed past her in the first set, breaking her three times to clinch it 6-1.
7 years later, Victoria Azarenka will have another shot at the US Open 🏆 pic.twitter.com/Clmq4qElQT
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2020
And when Serena held her serve to love in the first game of the second and had a break-point to go 2-0 up, the writing looked to be on the wall for the Belarusian.
She fought on though. Came back to hold serve in that game, pushed Serena in the next before holding her next serve to love – a drastic turnaround from Azarenka’s struggles with her service till then. Still, she was down a set and hadn’t found a way to get through Serena’s booming serves.
It looked to be the opening Azarenka needed though. The spring in her stride back, she got two break-points at 2-2, and converted the first to go ahead for the first time in the match.
Another hold to love, followed by more pressure on Serena’s serve at 4-2 before she broke the American the second time at 5-3 to level the set.
The momentum had swung wildly, and Azarenka made it count by holding the first game of the third set and then coming back from 40-0 down on Serena’s serve to take it to deuce.
Serena suffered an ankle scare at that stage, needing a medical timeout but that did nothing to distract Azarenka as she broke serve to take a 2-0 lead. A couple of reasonably easy holds later, Azarenka fell behind 15-30 on serve but came away without facing a break-point, and then held to 15 to take a 5-2 lead.
The American came back from 30-0 down to make it 30-30 only for Azarenka to send down her fastest service of the match, followed by an ace to complete the last rites.
Earlier, Osaka had needed three sets to get Jennifer Brady in the first semifinal at Flushing Meadows.