US Open: Azarenka, Williams showdown for women’s title

September 8th, 2012 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Maria Sharapova New York, Sep 8 (IANS) Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus overcame a lacklustre opening set to beat third-seeded former champion Maria Sharapova of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, setting up a showdown against three-time champion Serena Williams at the US Open women’s final.

Fourth seeded Williams gave another quick fire to her opponent Sara Errani in 64 minutes, downing the No. 10 seed Italian 6-1, 6-2 Friday, reports Xinhua.

Williams, a 14-time grand slam singles winner, holds a record of 9-1 against Azarenka including three victories this year from Madrid Masters final, Olympic and Wimbledon semifinals.

Azarenka’s only triumph over the American came from the 2009 Miami Masters. Last year it was Williams who snapped the Belarussian’s US Open journey in round of 32.

The semifinal clash between Azarenka and Sharapova was a rematch of their meeting in this year’s Australian Open final, but it was nothing like the 6-3, 6-0 rout registered by Azarenka in claiming the crown in Melbourne for her maiden grand slam title.

After dropping her racket in euphoric disbelief, Azarenka did her signature shuffle dance and blew kisses to the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after shaking hands at the net here at the Flushing Meadows.

The Russian held Azarenka off valiantly before succumbing in the last game.

“Maria came out firing and placed the ball well,” said Azarenka, who became the first player from Belarus to reach a US Open singles final.

“I was just trying to find my rhythm and just fight. I tried to give whatever it takes. Give it all. That worked for me to pull it out.”

Sharapova dominated the opening set, cracking winners off both wings from the opening game, while a surprisingly tight Azarenka registered just one winner.

Azarenka double-faulted on break point in her first service game to fall behind 2-0 and did so again in the sixth game to sink into a 5-1 hole.

Then Sharapova lost control of her serve. Serving for the set in the seventh game, the 2006 US Open winner double faulted twice in a row to hand Azarenka a service break.

The second set swung the other way with Azarenka belting the ball more freely and controlling play after dropping serve in the first game.

Service breaks in the second and fourth games helped the World No. 1 seize a 4-1 lead on her way to levelling the match.

The Russian, who completed her grand slam by winning the French Open in June, could not withstand the groundstroke pressure applied by Azarenka, who will be seeking her second career grand slam singles crown Saturday.

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