US Open Contenders: Victoria Azarenka
Published August 22, 2013 12:00
Titles Won (3): Australian Open, Doha, Cincinnati
Grand Slam Performances: Australian Open (champion), French Open (semifinals), Wimbledon (second round)
Win/Loss Record: 36-4
Record Against Top 10: 8-2
US Open History: Runner-up (2012), Fourth Round (2007), Third Round (2011, 2009, 2008, 2006), Second Round (2010)
Since then, the scars of that evening have faded - thanks in part to a couple of victories over her great rival - and Azarenka arrives in New York emanating a quiet air of confidence.
"I'm feeling healthy, I'm feeling strong and obviously it was great to have that amazing week in Cincinnati ahead of the US Open," Azarenka said.
In Cincinnati, Azarenka ended a six-month title drought, defeating Williams on a third set tie-break to end a rollercoaster final. And while she still trails their head-to-head record 12-3, the 24-year-old is certainly not shying away from another final encounter.
"Serena is my toughest opponent in the last few years so to get that win in Cincinnati, particularly after some of the close losses I've had, gives me a lot of self-confidence going into the next tournaments," she added. "We always have very tough matches. Hopefully we'll meet at the US Open final and we'll have another one."
A consummate Grand Slam performer - she has reached the semifinals or better in five of the last seven appearances - the No.2 seed, who starts against the talented young German Dinah Pfizenmaier, has left no stone unturned in getting ready for her eighth visit to Flushing Meadows.
"My preparation has gone well - not just Cincinnati but also Carlsbad as well - and I'm really looking forward to the last Grand Slam of the year. I had a few days off after Cincinnati and then got back on it and now I'm really excited about it."