US Open Final Preview
Published September 07, 2012 11:56
NEW YORK, NY, USA - Tennis fans will be treated to a blockbuster match-up under the lights when World No.1 Victoria Azarenka takes on who many consider the No.1 player of this era, Serena Williams, for the US Open title.
Arthur Ashe Stadium
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs.  Serena Williams (USA #4)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 9-1
Victoria Azarenka went from potential star to superstar when she shocked Serena Williams in the Miami final in 2009. Since then, she has captured a plethora of titles, including her first major at this year's Australian Open, and risen all the way to the top of the rankings. However, also since then Williams has dominated their series, winning seven straight - most recently a 61 62 rout in the semifinals of the Olympics.
"When I go to play against her, I don't think that I'm playing against Serena," Azarenka said. "I just try to focus more on myself. But you definitely know that there's going to be big adversity on the court against you. You have to be prepared to dig deep and accept the challenge."
Azarenka cruised through her first four rounds here, dropping just 10 games. But it has gotten much tougher the last two rounds. She was two points from defeat at 5-5 in the third set tie-break of her quarterfinal with Samantha Stosur, but pulled out a 61 46 76(5) win. Then in Friday's semis, she was a 36 62 64 winner against Maria Sharapova - making her 12-0 in three set matches this year.
Williams has had one-sided encounters all the way through her fortnight. Her toughest test was a 62 64 triumph over María José Martínez Sánchez in the second round. In fact, she has surrendered just 19 games so far - three of them in her drubbing of Sara Errani in the final four.
"I don't have anything to lose," Williams said. "I feel like I'm going up against the most consistent and the best player this year. It will be a good challenge."
Azarenka is a WTA-best 32-2 on hardcourts this year and 54-7 overall. For her career, she is 12-10 in WTA finals, 11-3 in hardcourt finals and 1-0 in Grand Slam finals. Williams is 22-3 on hardcourts this year and 52-4 overall. For her career, she is 44-15 in WTA finals, 28-9 in hardcourt finals, 14-4 in Grand Slam finals and 3-2 in US Open finals.