Serena Williams again failed to match Margaret Courts record of 24 <strong>grandslam titles. The 38-year-old American had to acknowledge her superior in the semi-finals of the US Open in Viktoria Azarenka: 6-1, 3-6, 3-6.
In the final battle, the unwarranted Belarussian woman takes on the 2018 champion, Naomi Osaka. The Japanese survived a barrage of sledgehammer blows by Jennifer Brady: 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3.
Williams won her last grand slam tournament, the Australian Open, in 2017. After that she became a mother. After returning to tennis, she played four finals (two at Wimbledon and two at the US Open), but they were all lost.
“Its of course very disappointing that I cant conquer my 24th Grand Slam title now, but on the other hand: Ive given it all today”, Williams commented at the press conference afterwards.
“Other times I was close, but then it felt like I could give more. Today it was not. And Im going to Paris anyway (for Roland Garros from 21 September, ed.)”
The 31-year-old Azarenka is also a mother. The former number one in the world fought beautiful duels with Williams in the past, but this is the first time she beat her rival at a grandslam tournament.
Level Azarenka skyrockets
It did not look that way for a long time. Williams almost had a break early in the second set, but from then on Azarenkas level shot up. She won seven of the next eight games from 2-1 and didnt let Williams come back.
“I started very strong,” said Williams. “But Azarenka kept fighting and started playing better and better. Maybe I let go of the accelerator a little too much, but she was just very good”
Osaka also had to pull out all the stops. Only at 2-1 in the third set she got her first breakpoint on the compelling serve of the American number 41 of the world. She took advantage of that and in the end Brady played checkmate.
Osaka generally served even better and Brady, who alternated incredible winners with quick mistakes, was also defensively the boss. Only in the second set was the American – she hadnt lost a set in this tournament – accurate enough.