2012 Women’s US Open Tennis Championship: Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka

2012 US Open Tennis Championship
Women’s Final
#4 Serena Williams (-550) vs #1 Victoria Azarenka (+425 )
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Sunday, September 9, 2012, 4:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
USTA National Tennis Center – Flushing Meadows, New York
Playing Surface: DecoTurf Hard Courts


Serena Williams is a heavy favorite to beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the US Open Sunday.

Serena Williams can win her 15th career major title and 4th US Open Sunday afternoon. She also won Wimbledon and an Olympic gold medal this summer. Remarkable when you consider that two years ago, she suffered a serious cut on her foot that led to life threatening side effects like blood clots that almost killed her.

Williams will take on the world’s #1 ranked player Victoria Azarenka in the final Sunday. The match was originally scheduled for Saturday night but rain in the forecast moved it to Sunday. Azarenka won the Australian Open earlier this year, for her first major title. The streak of 7 different women winning the last 7 majors will end tonight.

Azarenka, 23 from Belarus, is 54-7 this year with additional titles at Sydney, Doha, and Indian Wells, and lost in the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid. She lost in the fourth round of the French Open, and made it to the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the Olympics. Unfortunately, she ran into Serena Williams in both and lost in straight sets in the two matches. She did win the bronze medal though at the Olympics. She and her partner Max Mirnyi won the gold in mixed doubles as well.

Azarenka has wins over Alexandra Panova, Kirsten Flipkens, #28 Jie Zhang, Anna Tatishvili, and #7 seed Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals to get to the semifinals. Stosur was the defending US Open champion, and took Azarenka to 3 sets. Azarenka won 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5). Stosur is the only person to even win more than 2 games in a set so far against Azarenka.Until this year Azarenka had never advanced past the fourth round at the US Open.

Azarenka met up with #3 seed Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. Sharapova won the first set 6-3, but Azarenka won the next two 6-2 and 6-4. The match took 2 hours and 42 minutes. Azarenka had no aces but did have 5 double faults. Sharapova had 8 and 10 respectively. Azarenka had 19 winners and 19 unforced errors, and Sharapova had 44 and 42. Azarenka was 73% on first serve winners and 39% on second serve. Azarenka converted 5 of 12 breakers, and Sharapova was 3 for 5.

Williams is 30 years old, but is arguably playing some of the best tennis of brilliant career. The 14 time major winner has lost only one match since a first round loss at the French Open. She also won Wimbledon and the Olympics, not only in singles but doubles as well with her sister Venus. Aside from those titles, she has other titles at Madrid, Charleston, and Stanford. Serena is 52-4 this season.

Serena is a three time US Open winner but hasn’t won here since 2008. Williams lost to Stosur in the final last year. This year, Serena has wins over Coco Vandeweghe, Maria Jose Martinez, Ekaterina Makarova, Andrea Hlavackova, and #12 Ana Ivanovic in the quarters. No player has won more than 4 games in any set against Williams in the US Open. Williams even won 3 straight 6-0 sets against Makarova and Hlavackova. Williams dispatched Ivanovic 6-1, 6-3.

Williams took on #10 seed Sara Errani in the semifinals. After the match, Errani would admit she was intimidated by playing Williams and her only goal was for the match to last longer than an hour. Errani lasted 64 minutes. Williams destroyed her 6-1, 6-2. Serena had 9 aces and there were no double faults by either player. Errani did not record an ace. Serena had 38 winners and 21 unforced errors, and Errani had 9 and 6. Williams has 92% winners on first serve and 57% on second serves. Errani was at 51% and 40%. Williams converted 4 of 10 breakers, and Errani did not even get to a break point. When Williams goes into “Super Serena mode” or whatever you want to call it, she is very nearly impossible to beat. Errani is a top 10 ranked player and she was left just shaking her head in the second set.

Serena has dominated the series against Azarenka. Serena has won 9 of the 10 match-ups in the series and 7 straight since Azarenka beat her in the finals at Miami in 2009. Azarenka has only taken one set off Williams since that match-up, and that was in the 2010 Australian Open quarterfinals in 2010. Serena beat Azarenka in the third round here last year, when Williams was the #27 seed because she had missed so much time due her injury. Azarenka was the #5 seed last year. The two played in the semifinals at both Wimbledon and the Olympics, both on grass at the All England Lawn Tennis Center.  Williams won the second set at Wimbledon in a tiebreaker but beat her 6-1, 6-2 at the Olympics.

I think Williams wins her 4th US Open Sunday. Teh only question is whether Azarenka takes a set. I say Serena in straight sets.

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