Since coming to New York for the Western & Southern Open, which was relocated from close to Cincinnati to restrict journey, Azarenka has proven each signal of a resurgence at age 31. She gained the Western & Southern, and performed one of the dominant matches of her profession in the quarterfinal, crushing Elise Mertens of Belgium, the No. 16 seed, 6-1, 6-0.
Azarenka has spent the swing in New York in a rented home on Long Island, the place she will spend the times enjoying together with her son, Leo, and the place her mom has been cooking dinner every night time.
“She has goals, big goals. She wants to win big titles again,” mentioned Azarenka’s coach, Dorian Descloix. “When she’s here, she’s like Victoria the tennis player. When she goes back at home to our house in Long Island, she’s like a mother. So it’s totally different.”
Williams, seeded third in a match that’s lacking six of the highest 10 gamers, broke Azarenka’s serve twice earlier than the match was 10 minutes previous. She completed off the primary set in 34 minutes.
But Azarenka has by no means been identified for going quietly. She got here alive in the second set as Williams struggled together with her baseline recreation, pushing backhands into the online and sprayed forehands lengthy and large.
Up a break and serving at 4-3, Azarenka outslugged and outlasted Williams on two lengthy rallies, leaving Williams stretching helplessly as she watched winners zip previous. A blistering backhand sealed Azarenka’s second break of the set and evened the match.
During the ultimate video games, Williams and Azarenka grunted and screamed with every shot and celebrated every level with fist pumps and cries of “come on!”