Former champion Serena Williams blew up a 1-0 lead as Victoria Azarenka came back from a set down to win their US Open 2020 women’s singles semifinals clash on Thursday. Azarenka won 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 against the third seeded American. Also Read - French Open 2020: Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Dominic Thiem Enter Second Round
This is the first time since US Open 2013 when Azarenka has made the final of any Grand Slam event and the Belarusian will have a third go at winning the title after ending runners-up on her previous two occasions. Also Read - Tennis | US Open 2020 Final: Dominic Thiem Beats Alexander Zverev in Marathon Five-setter to Claim First Grand Slam Title
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I’m so grateful to be able to play such a champion in the semi-finals,” Azarenka said after the match. Also Read - US Open 2020 Results: Naomi Osaka Beats Victoria Azarenka in Women's Singles Final to Lift Her Second Title at Flushing Meadows, Clinches Her Third Grand Slam Overall
The defeat thus extends Serena’s wait for a record-equalling 24th singles Grand Slam title currently held by Margaret Court.
Azarenka will be up against Naomi Osaka of Japan who battled past Jennifer Brady in the other semifinal earlier in the day.
Osaka won 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-3 to enter her second US Open final.
Brady was playing in her maiden Grand Slam semifinal having not dropped a single set but lost a closely fought first set at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The American then stormed back with a 6-3 win before Osaka wrapped up the contest with the same scoreline in the decider.
“Sometimes I think I have no choice but to play as hard as I can, because my opponent isn’t giving me any looks,” Osaka said after the match. “For me, normally if I focus that much, then the match potentially could be over in two. But I felt like it just kept going on. Honestly, it was a bit fun because that quality of an opponent… at the final stages of a tournament. Yeah, it was fun.”
Brady has no regrets and was proud of her performance.
“I think I’m just proud of my effort, that I treated each match as the same, came in with the same mentality,” Brady said. “The only goal I had was just to compete on every single point. I felt like that’s what I did. I’m leaving here pretty proud.”
Azarenka and Osaka were to also play in the US Open tune-up event Western & Southern Open final. However, Osaka pulled out of the match citing a hamstring injury.