Byline By – Vinayak Heliwal
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus stuns Serena Williams by beating her 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Thursday, denying her the chance of winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam Singles title on home soil this year.
The unseeded Belarusian Azarenka will now face Naomi Osaka of Japan on Saturday in her third final at Flushing Meadows, having lost the previous two to Williams in 2012 and 2013.
“That’s my favorite number so I guess that’s meant to be ” Azarenka said of her seven-year wait till return to a Grand Slam Singles Final. Azarenka added ” I’m very grateful for this opportunity, I’m so grateful to be able to play such a champion in the semi-finals “
Two -time Grand Slam Winner Azarenka had never beaten Six-time US champion Serena Williams before in a grand slam and she was seemed to be heading for another agonizing loss after being hammered 6-1 in the opening set of the game.
But the 31 year -old Azarenka raised her game in the second stanza, upping her service game, drastically reducing her unforced errors, and came out on top after some explosive exchanges of power-hitting.
The two-time Australian Champion kept up the pressure in the third as 38-year-old Serena Williams struggled with an injury to her left ankle and sealed her place in the final with an ace.
Azarenka’s Last slam title came at the 2013 Australian Open when she retained the crown she had won a year earlier.The 31-year-Old is enjoying a fairytale run at the US Open after claiming last month’s Western and Southern tune-up event in New York.
Meanwhile two-time Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka reached the US Open Final for the second time in her career with a thrilling 7-6 (1), 3-6 6-3 victory over American Jennifer Brad.