Azarenka, Williams to meet in U.S. Open final

Top seed Victoria Azarenka signals her victory over Maria Sharapova in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Story highlights

  • Victoria Azarenka into final of U.S. Open for the first time
  • World No.1 Azarenka beats Maria Sharapova 3-6 6-2 6-4
  • Serena Williams defeats Italy's Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2
  • Contest will be Williams' sixth U.S. Open final

World No.1 Victoria Azarenka lived up to her to billing with a tenacious three set victory over Maria Sharapova to reach the U.S. Open final against 14-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams who dispatched Italy's Sara Errani in two sets late Friday.

Azarenka recovered from a set and a break down to win a grueling battle against the Russian third seed after two hours 42 minutes on the Arthur Ashe Stadium Court at Flushing Meadows.

The Belarus star had continuously pressed on the Sharapova service in the decider and finally made the breakthrough in the 10th and final game. A first match point was saved by 2006 champion Sharapova, but reigning Australian Open champion Azarenka worked another opening with more determined play to win the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

"To come back was pretty difficult because Maria is a terrific fighter," she told Sky Sports after her win.

"I just had to try to stay focused and when I had the opportunity I had to set it up," she added.

Azarenka will take on Serena Williams in the final after the American made fast work of her semi-final defeat of Italy's Sara Errani.

Sharapova's road to Istanbul
Sharapova's road to Istanbul


    Sharapova's road to Istanbul


Sharapova's road to Istanbul 00:27
Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips
Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips


    Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips


Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips 04:05
Victoria Azarenka targets 2012 success
Victoria Azarenka targets 2012 success


    Victoria Azarenka targets 2012 success


Victoria Azarenka targets 2012 success 06:49

Williams knocked out underdog Errani in just over one hour, 6-1, 6-2.

"I just try first set to be a bit more on the defense, to receive a bit more far away, and play her high balls and try to make that game -- then was not so good, so I changed and try to be a bit more aggressive," said the 25-year-old Errani.

"In any case, it was very difficult," she added.

Wiliams is the only player left in the women's 2012 singles draw not to have dropped a set, matching the record of men's defending champion Novak Djokovic.

In last year's U.S. Open, Williams beat Azarenka in the third round, 6-1, 7-6 (5). The fourth seed has a 9-1 head-to-head advantage against the Belarussia over the course of the careers, including wins in the 2012 Wimbledon and Olympic semifinals.

"I don't have anything to lose," said Williams. "I feel like I'm going up against I personally think the most consistent and the best player this year, being Victoria Azarenka... it will be a good challenge for me."

Earlier, there was a popular home win in the men's doubles as the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, won a record equaling 12th grand slam title as they beat Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-3 6-4 in the final. The Bryans also took gold in the Olympic doubles for the United States.


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