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 National

Manufacturing, construction data point to sturdy U.S. growth

An overall view of the assembly line where the BMW X4 is made at the BMW manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina March 28, 2014.

U.S. manufacturing activity hit a nearly 3-1/2-year high last month, a sign the economy entered the third quarter on strong footing.

in Lifestyle

Pistachios may help reduce diabetes risk

Pistachios are seen after sorting at a processing factory in Rafsanjan, 1,000 kilometers southeast of Tehran September 23, 2008.

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide.

in Lifestyle

Triathlons popular with middle-aged athletes

Runners and bikers compete in the 34th annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco, California June 1, 2014.

Triathlons, the swim-bike-run races of varying lengths, are scaling the bucket lists of many middle-aged athletes.

in Sports

Indianapolis Colts owner pleads guilty to intoxicated driving

James Irsay, owner of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters March 17, 2014.

Billionaire James Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, was arrested in March after failing roadside field-sobriety tests.

in Sports

Phillies’ Cole Hamels, bullpen combine for no-hitter

Sep 1, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) throws the ball against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Turner Field.

Cole Hamels set up a combined no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies as they beat the Atlanta Braves 7-0 at Turner Field in Atlanta.