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US Open: Victoria Azarenka defeats Serena Williams and returns to the finals

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September 14, 2020 10:25 am

Victoria Azarenka defeats Serena Williams

Victoria Azarenka, who pass by Serena Williams at the beginning of the match, managed a superb turnaround (1-6, 6-3, 6-3) to qualify for the US Open final where Naomi Osaka is waiting for her.

The 2020 US Open final will not be a remake of 2018 final. While Naomi Osaka will be present for the final match of the tournament, Serena Williams will be missing. The fault lies with Victoria Azarenka who managed to overcome a catastrophic start to the game to win in three sets.

This semi-final between two best enemies smelled like gunpowder, but for a good half hour, the fuse wet, and the hoped-for bomb never exploded. Drunk with blows from an unleashed Serena Williams, Azarenka was unable to react. Badly launched into the match by a service play with two double faults and a quick break, the Belarusian was only the shadow of the player who had wiped out Elise Mertens the day before. It looked like Serena Williams’ eleventh victory in as many major league matches. For if Azarenka was ectoplasmic, Williams will have nothing to do with the pushy player of her last few games. Mobile and precise, she was looking for the knockout and was very close to getting it.

Had she been able to convert that ball 2-0 early in the second set, the story might have been different. Because at 38 years old, Serena Williams can still run some excellent sprints, but not many marathons anymore. Dropping everything in the hopes of finishing was the only tactic she had, knowing full well that the longer the match lasts, the less advantageous it would be for her. That breakaway ball that got away from her cost her dearly.

It was the only tactic that allowed Azarenka to regain her motivation and get back in the game. Three games later, she was the breaker. The face of the game was changing. Serena Williams was still making good points, still screaming with every shot, but her short breath between points didn’t bode well. Azarenka was on her way up, giving herself a double break and coming back to a set all over the place.

In the rout, Williams uses a medical time-out to get her left ankle strap while Azarenka led 1-0, 40-40. It was not enough to stop Azarenka’s forward motion as she broke in a straight line. It was unclear how Williams would be able to get back and was unable to do so. Even as she threw her last strength into the battle, the warrior finally laid down her arms. Azarenka continues her excellent comeback at the highest level. Seven years later, she’s back in the US Open final. It will be her third. The first two times, Serena Williams deprived her of the title. The demon exorcises, and it is Naomi Osaka who will face her.

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