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Azarenka ends Williams’s bid

Victoria Azarenka rallied to a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory Thursday night in New York for a first major win in 11 attempts over Serena Williams.

Williams took a mid-game medical time out for an Achilles tendon problem in the decider’s second game and ended up being broken to lead 2-0.

Unlike her previous three rounds, this time there has been no comeback for the 38-year-old.

Williams has lost her last four Grand Slam finals as she tried to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, but semi-final losses in the majors are rare. She fell to 33-6.

Azarenka reached her first Grand Slam final since losing the 2013 US Open final to Williams.

She will face Naomi Osaka, who beat the Grand Slam semi-final Jennifer Brady 7-6 (1) 3-6 6-3 in another thrilling encounter.

Osaka won the crown in 2018 by beating Williams in a controversial final.

It’s a rematch of the Western & Southern Open warm-up final, which was also contested at the US Open venue as part of the tournament bubble during the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka, however, pulled out with a hamstring injury to give Azarenka the title.

Thursday’s games were played with the roof over at Arthur Ashe Stadium due to the rain.


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