Azarenka, who flew in the first set with Williams’ serve and a strong and precise drive, rallyed for a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win as the women’s semifinals reached a high level in New York.
Not helping Williams’ cause hurt her left Achilles in the second game of The Sider, triggering a rare mid-game medical timeout. But Williams said the injury did not bother her.
Their thundering ground strokes sounded even louder as the rain closed the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium and there were no fans inside the world’s most used tennis arena (which can hold around 24,000 people).
What is known is that it is the ninth time a 38-year-old American has tried to set an all-time record for Margaret Court’s Grand Slam title.
Going to the French Open
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Wiliams told reporters. “At the same time, I did what I could do. At other times, I got closer and I felt like I could do better. I felt like I gave a lot.”
Tournament Williams was determined to take 24th place before building a tennis court at her home in Florida, which had the same surface as the US Open.
Under normal circumstances, the US Open will end the Grand Slam calendar and generally Williams’ season.
However, with the schedule being adjusted due to the epidemic this year, the French Open will start over two weeks.
Although historically proved to be Williams’ most difficult major in terms of titles, she is planning a trip to Europe. She owns an apartment in Paris and enjoys playing mud.
“I will definitely go to Paris,” she said.
Williams barely made a mistake in the opener, dropped two points over the first serve and scored four more winners than forced errors.
However, against that, Azarenka saved a breakpoint and continued with the second service game.
Azarenka gradually lifted her game, and Williams didn’t score after the second serve in the second set.
Williams was now defensive and had to hold a firm place in his first service game in the third match. The 40-0 lead disappeared to 40-30. She adjusted her Achilles tendon and asked for a trainer, giving up the next point.
When she returned, Williams was behind by 2-0.
“It’s just overstretched,” she said. “It was very intense.” Later she added that it had nothing to do with the end result.
“It didn’t ultimately affect my play, and that’s just one thing. That’s fine.”
Azarenka tested Williams in previous struggles, but this marked her first victory in 11 attempts at the Grand Slam.
Heading to the last month, it would have been almost unpredictable. Azarenka, who was number one in the world, didn’t win for a year until the Western & Southern Open to leave her seedless at this US Open.
She has endured fierce custody fights around her son Leo, was injured and considered retiring.
The Belarusians last won the Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, and finally won the Grand Slam final in New York against Williams seven years ago.
The 31-year-old told reporters, “Mentally I’m in that different place.” “I think we will be able to advance to the final after winning the Australian Open 7 years ago and consistently with good results. This year doesn’t seem to be the case.
“But this year it’s more fun, more satisfying, more enjoyable. I feel better and better.”
Straight speaking Azarenka said that offending her pride is exactly what she needs to grow.
“The best tool is for me to lose a lot of games,” she said. “That was the greatest tool I could ever get. I can continue to stay at a high level horse or just change it and learn.
“I am very proud of myself that I lost that challenge and turned around and made it better. I am not talking about a better tennis player.
“I’m talking about a better person for myself, for my son. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Serena coach help
Ironically, Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou played a part in Azarenka’s victory. He helped form Azarenka’s new entourage, including coach Dorian Descloix, after training with Williams and other preseasons in Florida.
Outside the court, Azarenka sang karaoke with Williams.
“She has suffered a lot of decline in her career,” Williams said. “She started at many highs.
“I don’t know how she maintained a positive attitude. That’s a good lesson for all of us. No matter what, you have to keep going. I hope she keeps dreaming.”
The perfect end to the dream is to win the Saturday final against Osaka. Representing Japan due to a hamstring injury, but US-based Osaka, like Azarenka, withdrew from the Western & Southern finals, leaving no conclusions.
Osaka and Brady each hit 35 winners and recorded only 42 forced errors. However, Brady fell too little on the tie break.
Americans who leveled to take them to the decider had a lonely time 1-2 in the third. Brady didn’t take a shot called a long, even though the replay showed a good ball.
Osaka did not face a breakpoint in the third.
Azarenka said ahead of the finals, “I’m sure this time we’ll be playing and it will be a great match.” “She’s already won (Grand Slam) twice. Aren’t we both looking for a third?”
Actually it is. For Williams, the 24 hunting will have to wait until Paris.