New York: Former World No.1 and Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka has booked her place in the summit showdown of the ongoing 2020 US Open after ousting American star Serena Williams in a three-set semi-final thriller of the women’s singles event on Friday. After going down in the opening set, Azarenka rebounded strongly to stun rival Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a pulsating last-four clash that lasted one hour and 55 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
With the victory, the 31-year-old has now clinched her first win over Williams at a major tournament and denied the latter’s chances of claiming a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows. The victory also saw Azarenka extend her winning streak to 11 in a row in a battle of tour mothers.
Speaking after making it to the final, Azarenka said, “Hopefully this inspires women to go after their dreams. I feel like you can’t always identify yourself as just one thing, because we have many things we can do in our lives. A parent is the most important thing I can be in my life, but I’m also a tennis player, a fighter on the court. I want to go after my personal dreams, to inspire my child. I hope women around the world know they can do anything. Being a parent is the toughest thing, so once you can balance that, you can do anything.”
Notably, it was the first meeting between Williams and Azarenka since the 2019 BNP Paribas Open and first US Open face off since 2013 final, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) official website reported. Meanwhile, 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams has never lost before the semifinals in her last 11 appearances and was bidding for her seventh US Open crown this year. The Belarusian has now set up a clash against Japanese tennis player and world No.10 Naomi Osaka in the final of the Grand Slam event.