Udayavni Special

Williams out of US Open, bothered by ankle, Azarenka’s surge


Team Udayavani, Sep 11, 2020, 10:36 AM IST

New York: Serena Williams already was struggling to keep up in a fast-paced U.S. Open semifinal when she stopped behind the baseline after a third-set point and leaned over.

She held that pose for a bit then clutched at her left ankle and asked for a trainer.

While Williams took a medical timeout for a tape job, her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam singles title seemingly slipping away, her opponent, Victoria Azarenka, sat in a sideline seat, eyes closed, calm and composed as can be.

After a delay of about five minutes, action resumed, and while Williams raised the force of her shots and volume of her shouts, it was Azarenka who finished off a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to return to a major championship final for the first time since 2013.

“It’s been seven years? That”s my favorite number. I guess that’s meant to be. I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” said Azarenka who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and lost to Williams in the U.S. Open finals each of those two years.

“On the road to the final, you have to beat the best players and today was that day,” she said.

The loss left Williams just short of No. 24 yet again. She was beaten in the finals of four of the preceding seven Slams, including at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and 2019.

With her 39th birthday a little more than two weeks away, the question will become: How many more chances will Williams get?

This was Williams’ fourth consecutive three-setter in New York and although she was far better at the outset Thursday, racing to a 4-0 lead inside of 15 minutes, Azarenka eventually did get going.

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