Victoria Azarenka came from a set down to stun record-chasing Serena Williams on Thursday and set up a US Open final against Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Azarenka recovered from a 6-1 hammering in the first set to win the next two 6-3, 6-3 and schedule her first Grand Slam final appearance in seven years.
VICTORIA AZARENKA HAS DONE IT!
She comes back to defeat Serena Williams for the final spot in the #USOpen championship match.
This will be Azarenka's first major final in seven years. pic.twitter.com/T8depXUMLO
— ESPN (@espn) September 11, 2020
The former world number one is enjoying a remarkable run in New York.
“I think when you’re coming up from kind of nothing, then you become a number one player in the world, sometimes you can start to think you’re invincible and that you’re better than everybody, and it’s not true,” Azarenka said.
Ayyyy Naomi Osaka repping the Black Mamba while she watches Serena Williams at the US Open pic.twitter.com/6YrS6cIpsf
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) September 11, 2020
After a first set plagued by double faults and unforced errors, Azarenka turned the tide in the second, upping her service game and getting more returns in play as she began to dictate lengthy rallies.
“I knew I needed to step up with my aggressivity, play a little smarter, play with a little bit more width of the court and bring the intensity up,” Azarenka explained.
Serena Williams falls to Victoria Azarenka in the US Open semifinals
This is Azarenka’s first win in a major against Serena pic.twitter.com/de4KNgT35O
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 11, 2020
The two-time Grand Slam winner had never beaten Williams before in a Grand Slam.
Her last appearance in a Grand Slam final came in the US Open in 2013 when Williams beat her.