After two hours and forty two minutes of intense screaming that riveted around the Arthur Ashe Stadium, current world no. 1 Victoria Azarenka emerged victorious as she defeated no. 3 ranked Maria Sharapova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, in a highly competitive semifinal match.
“I was not trying to focus on the score. I was trying to give whatever it takes. I know my opponent is going to play hard, but I am going to play harder. I guess that works for me to pull it out,” said the 23 year old Azarenka, who is also through to her first Finals appearance at the US Open.
Despite falling behind early and losing the first set, Azarenka, who beat Sharapova at the Australian Open Finals in January, began to claw her way back into the match. Sharapova began to falter as she would end the match with a total of 42 unforced errors while Azarenka only had 19.
“I think I gave her too many free points. In this type of match and under these circumstances, if you’re not putting that much pressure on your opponent, it’s a difficult situation to go into,” said Sharapova.
Both players entered the match with a perfect record in three-set matches this year. Azarenka won a total 12 tiebreakers while Sharapova had 11. But, now, only Azarenka’s streak remains intact as she heads into another Finals match against a familiar foe.
A little more than a month ago, Azarenka played against Serena Williams in the Semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics. Williams, who went on to win the Gold medal, defeated Azarenka handily 6-1, 6-2. It seems that the dominance of Williams has been ever present as of late and she still has not dropped a set at the US Open this year.
Williams once again had a relatively easy time on the hardcourt as she crushed Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2, in their semifinal match. Williams needed just 64 minutes to seize another opportunity to play in the Finals at Flushing Meadows.
“It’s really awesome. This is what I wanted and dreamed of all year. I’m in the final again and I’m really excited about it,” said Williams, who is a 3-time US Open champion, winning in 1999. 2002 and 2008.
This is Williams’ sixth US Open Finals appearance. Last year, she lost in frustrating fashion to Samantha Stosur 6-2, 6-3. But, this is a much different and more focused Williams now as she is gunning for a third-straight win at a major tournament after winning in Wimbledon and at the Olympics.
When asked about how she would feel if she goes on to capture the US Open crown, Williams said, “I think it will probably be the best summer I’ve ever had.”
It will be very interesting to see whether Williams can continue her dominating play in the Finals against Azarenka who is coming off two hard-fought matches against Stosur and Sharapova.