ORDER OF PLAY

LOUIS ARMSTRONG -- 11:00 am start
[4/WC] Naomi OSAKA (JPN) vs. Victoria AZARENKA (BLR)

COURT 10 -- 11:00 am start
[3] Kveta PESCHKE (CZE) / Demi SCHUURS (NED) vs. [2] Nicole MELICHAR (USA) / XU Yifan (CHN)

Head to Head

More Head to Head
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naomi osaka
JPN
75% Win 3
- Matches Played
25% Win 1
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victoria azarenka
BLR

MATCH POINTS

Two former World No.1 players and two-time Grand Slam champions will meet for the 2020 Western & Southern Open singles title: No.4 seed Naomi Osaka and 2013 champion Victoria Azarenka.

The pair have met three times previously, with Osaka leading the head-to-head 2-1. Azarenka won their first meeting, 6-1, 6-1, at the 2016 Australian Open, which is their only prior clash on hardcourt. Osaka claimed their last two encounters, both coming on clay, at 2018 Rome and 2019 Roland Garros.

Read more: Osaka ousts Mertens to reach Cincinnati final

World No.10 Osaka is seeking her sixth WTA singles title. She is 3-0 in her last three singles finals, which includes her second Grand Slam singles title at the 2019 Australian Open.

Osaka is into her first final of the year, following a semifinal showing in Brisbane and a third-round loss during her Australian Open title defense. This week, after a first-round bye, she beat Karolina Muchova, No.16 seed Dayana Yastremska, No.12 seed Anett Kontaveit, and No.14 seed Elise Mertens.

Read more: Osaka reflects on 'eye-opening' 48 hours

The Japanese player has struck a tournament-leading 33 aces this week, taking her season total to 100 (the fourth-most on tour).

Osaka entered the event as a wildcard – just last year, wildcard Svetlana Kuznetsova also went all the way to the final (losing to Madison Keys). The best-ever result by a wildcard at the Western & Southern Open came in 2011, when Maria Sharapova won the title.

Azarenka is looking to lift her 21st career WTA singles title, and her first since 2016. The 31-year-old has a 16-5 win-loss record throughout her career at the Western & Southern Open, which includes her run to the title in 2013, where she beat Serena Williams in an epic final via a final-set tiebreak.

Read more: Azarenka fights past Konta, moves into Cincy final

The Belarusian came into the event 0-2 in 2020, having lost to Tamara Zidansek in Monterrey and Venus Williams in Lexington in her only previous matches of the season. She is now 5-2 for the year, after wins over No.15 seed Donna Vekic, Caroline Garcia, Alize Cornet, Ons Jabeur, and No.8 seed Johanna Konta this week.

One of three mothers in this past week's singles field (along with Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva), World No.59 Azarenka is bidding to become the lowest-ranked champion in the tournament’s history.

Azarenka has won 19 of her 20 WTA singles titles on hardcourt. Only three active players have won more WTA singles titles on hardcourt: Serena Williams (47), Venus Williams (31), and Kim Clijsters (31).

In the doubles final, No.2 seeds Nicole Melichar and Xu Yifan will meet No.3 seeds Kveta Peschke and Demi Schuurs for the title.

Read more: Melichar and Xu, Peschke and Schuurs to play for Cincy title

Melichar and Xu won their first WTA doubles title as a team earlier this season in Adelaide. Melichar has won seven WTA doubles titles overall, while Xu has ten career WTA doubles titles.

This is Peschke and Schuurs' first WTA final as a pairing. Former WTA Doubles World No.1 Peschke has won 34 WTA doubles titles in her illustrious career, while Schuurs has won ten WTA doubles titles in her career. Schuurs is into the Western & Southern Open final for the third year in a row, and Peschke is also a two-time finalist, but they are both seeking their first title at the event.

Melichar and Peschke will be opponents on Saturday but have had much prior success together -- as a duo, they won five WTA doubles titles and reached the 2018 Wimbledon final.

2020 Cincinnati Highlights: Peschke and Schuurs advance to doubles final