In a major setback for Tennis fans, Victoria Azarenka stunned the sports world with an incredible fightback to beat Serena Williams in three sets and reach the US Open final.
According to the details, Belarusian found her rhythm in the second set, breaking Williams to force a deciding set with the tide very much running with her.
Serena Williams suffered a damaging injury to her ankle and despite vowing to play on, Azarenka held a clear physical advantage to seal a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Azarenka’s body language changed from resigned to revitalized in the second set, however, and she began to make inroads on Williams’ serve.
Azarenka will now face 2018 winner Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final.
“That’s my favorite number so I guess that’s meant to be,” Azarenka said of her seven-year wait to return to a Grand Slam singles final.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I’m so grateful to be able to play such a champion in the semi-finals,” she added.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka had never beaten Williams before in a Grand Slam and she seemed to be heading for another agonizing loss after being hammered 6-1 in the first set.
The player from Belarus also suffered a heartbreaking loss to Williams in the 2012 US Open, when she served for the match at 5-3 in the third set only to lose 7-5.
Azarenka was determined that history would not repeat itself. Serving for the match, she hit a double fault before smashing her fastest serve of the night at 109 mph.
Azarenka has won 21 WTA singles titles, eight WTA doubles titles and three mixed-doubles titles.
She has won two Australian Open singles titles (2012 and 2013), becoming the only Belarusian player, male or female, to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Her other major achievements include winning six Premier Mandatory tournaments including the Sunshine Double in 2016, the singles bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles—the 2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and the 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan—and the gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 2012 Summer Olympics with Max Mirnyi.