US Open: Azarenka hits Osaka in finals

Victoria Azarenka held Serena Williams out of the finals of the US Open. The 31-year-old Belarusian beat the 7-year-old American in the semifinals in three sets: 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Azarenka had never won against Williams on grandslams.

The tennis star from Minsk, winner of the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, will compete against Naomi Osaka in the final match in New York. The Japanese defeated American Jennifer Brady in three sets: 7-6 (1) 3-6 6-3. Osaka won the US Open two years ago and also triumphed at the Australian Open last year.

Azarenka had lost the ten previous encounters with Williams at the grandslam tournaments. In 2012 and 2013 she had to bow for the US Open in the finals.

“I am grateful that I was able to play against such a champion in the semi-finals,” said Azarenka about her good friend. “On the way to the finals you have to beat the best players. Today I certainly did. In the first set she hit me deep in the pit. I had to climb out of there, step by step. I’m very happy that I managed to tip the game over”

Williams saw in the empty Arthur Ashe stadium another attempt to win her 24th Grand Slam title. Her last grandslam victory dates from early 2017 at the Australian Open, when she was already pregnant. After the birth of daughter Olympia, Williams returned to the track because she wants to improve the grandslam record of Margaret Court (24 titles). The last two years she made it to the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, but every time she stepped off the track as a loser.

“Of course I’m disappointed”, Williams said after her defeat against Azarenka. “I did what I could, I gave everything.” The American continues her hunt in Paris for the record of her Court. “I will definitely go to Paris,” said Williams, who won Roland Garros three times, the last time in 2015.