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

U.S., Cuba to restore diplomatic relations after 50 years

alangross

The major policy shift will end decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island.

in National

Menus will sport new calorie labels for alcohol

alcoholcalories

Restaurant drinkers will soon know how many calories are in their margarita or craft beer.

in National

113th Congress ends with more fights than feats

mcconnell

Congress has limped out of Washington, capping two years of legislating that was overshadowed by partisan clashes.

in National

Obamacare enrollment tops 2.5M

obamacare

Officials said demand for the health insurance plans jumped during the final week of 2015 open enrollment.

in Sports

Wednesday’s Sports Minute

grizzlies

A look at the big sports stories making news today, Wednesday, Dec. 17. GRIZZLIES HALT WARRIORS’ WIN STREAK The Golden…