Azarenka rallied for a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory on Thursday night in New York for a first major win in 11 attempts against Williams.

Williams took a mid-game medical timeout for an Achilles tendon issue in the second game of the decider and ended up being broken to trail 2-0. Unlike in her three previous rounds, this time there was no comeback for the 38-year-old.

Williams has lost her last four Grand Slam finals as she tried to match Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24, but semifinal defeats in majors are rare. She fell to 33-6.

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka: Friends, moms and tennis greats set for blockbuster US Open battle

Azarenka reached her first Grand Slam final since losing the 2013 US Open final to Williams.

She will face Naomi Osaka, who beat first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Jennifer Brady 7-6 (1) 3-6 6-3 in another gripping encounter. Osaka won the crown in 2018 by beating Williams in a controversial finale.

It’s a rematch of the final of the warmup Western & Southern Open, which was also played on the site of the US Open as part of the tournament’s bubble during the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka, though, withdrew with a hamstring injury to hand Azarenka the title.

Thursday’s matches were played with the roof on at Arthur Ashe Stadium due to rain.



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