US Open 2012 Semifinals: Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams Are Finals Locks

Tim KeeneyContributor ISeptember 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her women's singles quarterfinal match against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia on Day Ten of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 5, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

I tend to stay away from calling anything a lock, ever, but Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are going to make it really tough on me. 

Honestly, I could just leave it at this and I think we'd be good: Azarenka owns Maria Sharapova on the hard court and, have you freaking seen Serena lately?!

Boom, end of article. You'd be crazy to bet on either of them to lose.

But I suppose it's only fair to expand a little bit. Let's start with Azarenka and Sharapova. The current World No. 1 and the former—like, seven years former—World No. 1. 

At first glance, there's not a ton separating these two. 

In nine career matches, Azarenka has won five and Sharapova has won four. Both, for their careers, have been at their worst—a very relative term—at the U.S. Open. Neither really blows anyone away. They play a steady return game and don't bank on a ton of winners, although the Russian hits somewhat more. 

Nevertheless, this is more of a "what have you done for me lately" instance, and "lately," it's been all Azarenka, all the time. 

In the last four hard court matches, Azarenka has gone 4-0 against Sharapova. No lost sets, not even a tiebreak. The most games Sharpova has won in a single match has been five. Five. 

It's been utter domination, and most of it, including the Australian Open earlier this year, has been recently, with Sharapova back on the top of her game. 

It would be a big surprise to see Sharapova, who looked very shaky against both Nadia Petrova and Marion Bartoli in the last two rounds, pull the semifinal upset.

Then we have Serena Williams, who is just on an absolutely different level right now.

Sara Errani is a very solid player, and she's looked very comfortable this tournament, but come on.

She has no chance against the woman who has been broken twice all tournament, has lost just 16 games—forget about a set—in five matches and has lost four games in her past five sets.

There's only one thing you can do when reading those numbers: Lough out loud.

When Serena Williams is harnessing her ridiculous power and turning opponents' serves into essentially her own serves and when she's getting her first best-women's-serve-in-history serve down with regularity, she's impossible to beat.

She's doing those things right now. Sorry, Sara. 

I'm going to do it. Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are locks for the U.S. Open final.