Serena Williams is looking scary. After last year’s shock loss to Samantha Stosur in the US Open final, she is out for revenge and it looks like nothing is going to stand in her way. She faces her sternest challenge yet, the world number one Victoria Azarenka, in what will be a mouth watering final.
The number four seed has been a force this year, crushing opponents en route to a Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal. The match well and truly rests upon her racket.
Her semi final match against Sara Errani she was phenomenal. She smashed a whopping 38 winners passed Errani’s defences, however it was her return of serve that has really showed just how good her form is. Serena stood a number of metres inside the baseline sending a resounding message to not only Errani but the rest of the world of just how high her confidence is right now. She didn’t let herself down, bellowing return after return to her opponent who couldn’t find any answers. Not to mention the aces that have come thick and fast this tournament. The 14 time grand slam champion has slammed down a frightening 50 of them over the past fortnight.
Serena has been in blistering form and has not been even slightly challenged in her matches leading up to the final. She is yet to drop a set let alone have her serve broken. It is the ease of which she has disposed of her opponents and the hunger she still has for the game that is the most outstanding. Serena could be forgiven for taking the foot off the pedal through her matches but she hasn’t; you only have to listen to her screams of passion on the court to show that the desire to win is as great as ever.
Coming into the final the two have previously met on ten occasions with Serena currently holding a 9-1 advantage over the Belarusian. A statistic that is sure to make her a hot favourite for the Saturday night final.
However Azarenka is no easy beat. She is the current world number one and already has one Grand Slam to her name for 2012. She too has been in blistering form this tournament. Azarenka breezed past the first few rounds barely dropping a game. She also had to tackle difficult challenges from Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova. She showed a lot of heart to beat both of those women, when at times she seemed down and out. The world number one never gave up and demonstrated why she is deserving of her title. Her good form in close matches will certainly help her tomorrow if she can remain in the game long enough. That in itself is her main challenge.
To win, Victoria must minimise the cheap points that Serena wins on her serve. Anytime she has been even remotely challenged there has always been an ace at the ready to steady the ship. Secondly Azarenka must believe in herself, if she doesn’t she will get wiped out very quickly. Even though she is one of the best returners in the game, Azarenka has always had trouble reading the Williams serve. She also struggles to hold her own serve which Williams belts back at her with interest. Azarenka must therefore mix up her serve. The placement is key otherwise the serve will be disposed off similarly to Errani’s.
If she can get Williams into long rallies and move her around the court she will go a long way to giving herself a good chance of causing an upset. However Serena has been moving much better around the court this year which is not good news for the world number one.
It is hard believe that the number one in the world will go into this match as an underdog, but the 30 year old American is in too good form, and playing at home will be a huge advantage. It’s hard to see Azarenka causing an upset here unless she can lengthen the points and hope that Williams is off her game. This is unlikely to occur so expect Serena Williams to take home her fourth US Open singles trophy in straight sets.