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Osaka overcomes Azarenka for second US Open title

By The SATimes News Service

New York: Fourth seed Naomi Osaka outlasted an inspired Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final to win the women’s singles title of the US Open.

It’s Osaka’s second US Open title and third Grand Slam title after her victories at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.

“In the end all I focus on is what I can control on the tennis court. That’s what I did in the 2018 final. I feel like that’s what I did this time,” said the 22-year-old Japanese. Osaka had previously defeated Serena Williams to win the 2018 title.

Belarus’s Azarenka, 31, stormed to win the first set 6-1 in just 26 minutes while Osaka was uncharacteristically sloppy hitting a whopping 13 unforced errors.

At the start of the second set, Azarenka broke again for a 2-0 lead, but from there Osaka fought back to break her opponent’s serve twice and took a 4-3 lead.

Osaka then gained the momentum and broke a third time to take the match to a deciding set.

“I think in the first set I was so nervous, I wasn’t moving my feet. I felt like I was not playing to my best. There are too many things in my head. It would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour so I just have to try my best,” Osaka said of the turnaround.

Osaka broke in the fourth game of the third set to take a comfortable 3-1 lead. In the next game, Azarenka blew a golden opportunity to get back into the match, wasting all three break points as Osaka recovered from 0-40 down to hold for a 4-1 lead.

After that, Osaka dominated and claimed the set 6-3.

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US Open: Azarenka masters Mertens to set up Serena semifinal

By The SATimes News Service

New York: Two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus stormed into her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2013 after a dominant performance against the No.16 seed Elise Mertens at the ongoing US Open.

Azarenka looked her vintage best as she defeated Mertens 6-1, 6-0 in an hour and 13 minutes.

“I felt today I really executed the game very precisely,” Azarenka told press after the match as per the WTA website. “I was moving really well. I saw the ball very long. It was long on my racquet. I saw it where I needed to see it. So I felt I played well.

“I found all the right answers to everything she was trying to make today and more, so I’m very happy with that today,” she added.

She will now face six-time champion Serena Williams who staged a stellar comeback against unranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria and registered a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in her quarter-final match.

The match between Azarenka and Williams will be a repeat of the 2012 and 2013 US Open finals, where the 23-time Grand Slam champion had defeated Azarenka to win back-to-back Grand Slam crowns.

“I love playing against Serena,” Azarenka said. “I think we have one of the best matches – at least that I played in my career – against her. We always played on big stages. It was a lot of big fights. She’s one of the players who push me to the limit, who makes me better.”

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Second-seed Dominic Thiem. (Photos: USOpen.org)
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