News

Victoria Azarenka reaches U.S. Open finals

Victoria Azarenka reaches U.S. Open finals

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after defeating Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, during the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in New York. Photo: Associated Press/Darron Cummings

By Simon Evans

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Belarussian Victoria Azarenka reached her second straight U.S. Open final with a 6-4 6-2 win over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta on Friday.

Second seed Azarenka, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final, could get a chance for revenge if top-seeded Williams beats China’s Li Na in the Friday’s other semi-final.

“I’m so excited. It’s been a long road to the final. It’s an amazing feeling, to fight for the trophy,” said Azarenka, a former U.S. Open junior champion and mixed doubles winner.

Both players struggled to keep their serve on center court with 13 breaks of serve in the 18 games but Azarenka’s power was too much for the enterprising Pennetta, who returned from a serious wrist injury to reach her first grand slam semi-final.

There were five service breaks in a row before Azarenka, the Australian Open winner, held to win the set after an intense battle where the unseeded, 31-year-old Pennetta saved five set points.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with three broken serves before Azarenka turned up the power, holding to go up 3-1 in the set and then breaking Pennetta, ranked 83rd in the world, with a powerful backhand winner.

Azarenka, 24, also struggled to make her serve count though, offering a glimmer of hope to the 31-year-old Italian when she went wide with a return on break point.

But once again Pennetta was unable to hold, twice finding the net to hand Azarenka the chance to serve for the game and despite a brave effort from the Italian, who produced a sizzling return down the line in the final game, Azarenka sealed the win with a well-placed forehand.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

Fresh
floridastate

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

AP611561881101

A look at some of the biggest plays and best wins that happened this week in sports.

in Sports

Rice wins appeal, ‘suspension vacated’

Fresh
FILE - In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. A new video that appears to show Ray Rice striking then-fiance Janay Palmer in an elevator last February has been released on a website.

Ray Rice has won the appeal of his indefinite suspension by the NFL, which has been "vacated immediately," the players' union said Friday.

in Sports

Thunder G Westbrook to return Friday night

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook smiles as he answers a question during a news conference during media day for the NBA basketball team in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

The Thunder say point guard Russell Westbrook will return to action Friday night against the New York Knicks.

in Sports

Lions, Eagles, Seahawks have triumphant turkey day

lions

Philadelphia and Detroit both served up Thanksgiving Day routs while Seattle boosted their playoff hopes.

Bellingham Traffic