News

Victoria Azarenka reaches U.S. Open finals

Victoria Azarenka reaches U.S. Open finals

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after defeating Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, during the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in New York. Photo: Associated Press/Darron Cummings

By Simon Evans

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Belarussian Victoria Azarenka reached her second straight U.S. Open final with a 6-4 6-2 win over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta on Friday.

Second seed Azarenka, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final, could get a chance for revenge if top-seeded Williams beats China’s Li Na in the Friday’s other semi-final.

“I’m so excited. It’s been a long road to the final. It’s an amazing feeling, to fight for the trophy,” said Azarenka, a former U.S. Open junior champion and mixed doubles winner.

Both players struggled to keep their serve on center court with 13 breaks of serve in the 18 games but Azarenka’s power was too much for the enterprising Pennetta, who returned from a serious wrist injury to reach her first grand slam semi-final.

There were five service breaks in a row before Azarenka, the Australian Open winner, held to win the set after an intense battle where the unseeded, 31-year-old Pennetta saved five set points.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with three broken serves before Azarenka turned up the power, holding to go up 3-1 in the set and then breaking Pennetta, ranked 83rd in the world, with a powerful backhand winner.

Azarenka, 24, also struggled to make her serve count though, offering a glimmer of hope to the 31-year-old Italian when she went wide with a return on break point.

But once again Pennetta was unable to hold, twice finding the net to hand Azarenka the chance to serve for the game and despite a brave effort from the Italian, who produced a sizzling return down the line in the final game, Azarenka sealed the win with a well-placed forehand.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend’s celebrity birthdays

diaz

A look at the celebrities who will be celebrating this weekend.

in Local Sports

Report: Hawks to release QB Pryor

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor runs for a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers in the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in Seattle.

According to a Profootballtalk.com report, quarterback Terrelle Pryor will be released by Seattle.

in Local Sports

Nats use 6 HR in rout of the M’s

Washington Nationals

Wilson Ramos had two of the Nationals six home runs in Washington’s win over the Mariners Friday night in the opener of a three game series.

in Sports

49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL

in Local Sports

Mariners’ Montero done for year after altercation

Seattle Mariners' Jesus Montero, right, is congratulated by teammate Cole Gillespie after hitting two-run home run that scored Gillespie during second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in Seattle, Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

Jesus Montero will not play baseball again this season for the Mariners' organization after a heated confrontation in the stands