US Open: Azarenka masters Mertens to set up Serena semifinal

By The SATimes News Service

New York: Two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus stormed into her first Grand Slam semifinal since 2013 after a dominant performance against the No.16 seed Elise Mertens at the ongoing US Open.

Azarenka looked her vintage best as she defeated Mertens 6-1, 6-0 in an hour and 13 minutes.

“I felt today I really executed the game very precisely,” Azarenka told press after the match as per the WTA website. “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,” she added.

She will now face six-time champion Serena Williams who staged a stellar comeback against unranked Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria and registered a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in her quarter-final match.

The match between Azarenka and Williams will be a repeat of the 2012 and 2013 US Open finals, where the 23-time Grand Slam champion had defeated Azarenka to win back-to-back Grand Slam crowns.

“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.”

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Second-seed Dominic Thiem.

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