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 Local

Longtime Mitchell High School Teacher Roger Allen Passes Away

Roger Allen

He died in Sioux Falls under hospice care on Friday.

in Sports

This week’s top sports shots

royals

A look at some of this week's best moments in sports.

in Sports

This weekend’s sports schedule

worldseries

A complete look at this weekend's sports schedule.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP977488553978

A look at some of this week's biggest newsmakers.

in National

Student opens fire in high school north of Seattle

People embrace in front of school busses at a church, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, where students were taken to be reunited with parents following a shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash.

A student opened fire at his Washington state high school on Friday, killing one person, and wounding at least four others.