Half of Sunday’s US Open women’s final is set–and so is a rematch of last year’s championship match.
Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka battled to a straight-set semifinal victory (6-4, 6-2) over former world top-10 Italian Flavia Pennetta, putting the Belarussian a step closer to her second major title of the year and third overall.
Azarenka, the world’s second ranked player who is coming off an Australian Open win earlier this year and back-to-back semifinal appearances in the French Open and Wimbledon, battled through a tough first set before shaking loose to win it, despite 18 unforced errors to Pennetta’s 11 and five double faults to her opponent’s two. She had a much easier time in the second set, committing just seven unforced errors and a single double fault.
Up next for Azarenka: the winner of the Serena Williams/Li Na match. A Azarenka/Williams pairing would be a rematch of last year’s showdown that saw Williams win her fourth Open title in a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 battle against Azarenka–who was up 5-4 in the 3rd set and serving for match before losing three straight games. Li, meanwhile, is looking for her first major title since winning at Roland Garros in 2011–but will need to get past Serena first.