Photo: Paul ZimmerVictoria Azarenka (BLR)
Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams will meet in the US Open women’s singles final after they both came through their semifinal matches in contrasting styles at Flushing Meadows on Friday.
Azarenka was forced to fight back from a set down to defeat reigning Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova 36 62 64, while Williams had a much easier time in her 61 62 win over Sara Errani, who finished runner-up in Paris.
Azarenka, who now owns a 6-4 head-to-head record against Sharapova, booked her place in the US Open final for the first time in her career at the expense of the Russian, although it didn’t look like that would be the case during the first set.
Sharapova raced out of the blocks to take a 5-1 lead as the Belarusian uncharacteristically sprayed errors to gift her opponent the advantage, but there were better signs for Azarenka at the end of the first set when she began to find some form.
Despite going a set down, Azarenka settled down in the second set and started to display the type of tennis that saw her capture a maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.
After forcing a decider, the world No. 1 lifted her game again in the third set, but so did Sharapova, making for a great spectacle of women’s tennis. Azarenka didn’t offer her opponent a single break point and, after putting sustained pressure on the Russian’s serve, finally broke in the tenth game to seal victory.
Williams, bidding for her fourth US Open title, followed in Arthur Ashe Stadium against Errani and served impeccably, not allowing her opponent a break point in the entire match. The win extends the American’s unbeaten run over Errani to 4-0 and seals a spot in her sixth final in New York.
“I definitely played better today,” said Williams. “I played better than my other matches. Playing someone (like Errani), you have to go better. I was more consistent. I did make some errors, but I was more consistent than I felt I was in the past.”
The women's singles final is scheduled to be the night match on Saturday, taking place after the two men's singles semifinals, which see Andy Murray take on Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic meet David Ferrer.
Earlier in the day, Bob and Mike Bryan won their fourth men’s doubles title at the US Open with a 63 64 victory over Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek. The prolific American twins have now won 12 Grand Slam titles, eclipsing the record of 11 they had previously shared with Mark Woodforde and Tood Woodbridge to become the most successful men’s doubles team of all-time.
Follow all the action on the official US Open website: USOpen.org