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 Local

100 Days In… Still No Budget Progress


To say Governor Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats are at an impasse is an understatement.

in Local

Rauner Appoints Jacksonville Businessman to Lead IHPA

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Jim Bruner is known for his business acumen, having led United Contractors Midwest since 2001.

in Local

Amtrak to Suspend Chicago to St. Louis Service Oct. 17 – 31


The work was scheduled for later in the month to avoid disrupting travel during the NLDS between the Cardinals and Cubs.

in Local

American Business Club of Springfield Waiting for State Fair Money

State Fair Vendor

Owed thousands by the state, one of the Illinois State Fair vendors is giving money away anyway.

in Local

St. John’s, Memorial Hospitals Help Enos Park

enos park

Springfield's two hospitals are on the first step of a three-year joint initiative that for now will help provide better access to health care in the Enos Park neighborhood.