NEW YORK, NY, USA - Two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka powered her way into her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2013 after a dominant performance against the No.16 seed Elise Mertens under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Azarenka looked her vintage best against Mertens, blasting 21 winners and breaking all of the Belgian’s six service games en route to a clinical 6-1, 6-0 victory in an hour and 13 minutes. 

Read more: Azarenka back on top in Cincy: ‘I deserve to be where I am today’

“I felt today I really executed the game very precisely,” Azarenka told press after the match. “I was moving really well. I saw the ball very long. It was long on my racquet. I saw it where I needed to see it. So I felt I played well. 

“I found all the right answers to everything she was trying to make today and more, so I'm very happy with that today.”

2020 US Open highlights: Azarenka masters Mertens

The victory sent Azarenka into her first Grand Slam semifinal since her runner-up finish in Flushing Meadows - and she’ll face a familiar opponent as she sets up a clash with No.3 seed Serena Williams. The match will be a repeat of the 2012 and 2013 US Open finals, where Serena defeated Azarenka to win back-to-back Grand Slam crowns, as well as their 23rd career meeting

“I love playing against Serena,” Azarenka said. “I think we have one of the best matches - at least that I played in my career - against her. We always played on big stages. It was a lot of big fights. She's one of the players who push me to the limit, who makes me better. 

“I'm excited for that. It's been a while since we played... I think the semifinal of a Grand Slam is a different stage. It's going to be a different fight. I'm looking forward to it.”

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serena williams
USA
More Head to Head
78.3% Win 18
- Matches Played
21.7% Win 5
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victoria azarenka
BLR

Azarenka has been in red hot form throughout her run in New York, racking up a 10-match winning streak after lifting the trophy at the Western & Southern. At the US Open, Azarenka has dropped just one set en route to the semifinals, taking down No.20 seed Karolina Muchova and No.5 seed Aryna Sabalenka along the way. 

 It was a total turnaround for the two-time Grand Slam champion, who came into the Cincinnati tournament seeking her first match win in over a year.

Azarenka continued her emphatic resurgence against the No.16 seed Mertens, bossing the rallies with her booming groundstrokes. She neutralized the tricky Mertens’ game with her firepower, and broke to take a 2-0 lead, and kept her edge after trading breaks to make it 3-1. 

Victoria Azarenka dropped just one game against No.16 seed Elise Mertens to seal a spot in the US Open semifinals, where she set up a Grand Slam rematch with No.3 seed Serena Williams.

Azarenka was fired up in every point, grinding her way to another important service hold at 4-1 with an emphatic down-the line backhand to close out a marathon rally. From there, there was no looking back for the Belarusian as she reeled off the next eight games in a row to book her spot into the semifinals. 

Read more: Serena surges past Pironkova into US Open semifinals

“It took me a long road to come here with a lot of struggles, a lot of understanding, forcing me to find this route, this path, if you can say that,” Azarenka reflected. “But I'm here and I'm happy. I can definitely say this is the most exciting part for me. I mean, being in the semifinal of a Grand Slam is a blessing for sure, it's an amazing opportunity. 

“The way I feel about myself, about my tennis, about my life, is the biggest win for me right now. Hopefully it's just the beginning for me and I continue to go on this path.”