Sharapova vs. Azarenka: Live Score and Highlights from U.S. Open 2012
2012 U.S. Open—women's semifinal.
Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
After being blown off the court in the opening set by Maria Sharapova, World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka fought her way back through the next two sets—eventually clinching the match in just under 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The match was won (and lost) on Sharapova's racquet, with the Russian either hitting or missing very early on in rallies throughout the match. She would finish with 44 winners to Azarenka's 19, but would also finish with 42 unforced errors to Azarenka's 19, which would ultimately be her undoing at Flushing Meadows.
Nowehere near the most inspired performance from Azarenka—or Sharapova for that matter—but one that the Belarussian will take plenty of heart and inspiration from. She was determined and courageous, and earned a very-hard fought win—even when her tennis wasn't the best.
She'll play either Serena Williams or Sara Errani in the final.
FINAL SCORE: Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Not the best performance from Azarenka, but one that she'll take a lot of heart from given her courage and determination to come from behind against a top-class player.
Thanks for following along, and to see who Azarenka's opponent will be in the 2012 U.S. Open Final, head over to my live coverage of the match here.
Game. Set. Match.
Maria Sharapova puts it long and Victoria Arazenka is through to the 2012 U.S. Open final!!
Final score: 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
Advantage, Azarenka. Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
This time she gets the forehand down the line to catch the line; nothing Sharapova can do but lob it back—Azarenka dutifully puts it away.
Match point. Again.
40-40, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Azarenka forehand down the line to go through to the U.S. Open Final...... misses by an inch. Unbelievable.
30-40, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Match point here. Sharapova puts a forehand into the net. Not even close to going over. Looks tired.
30-30, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Sharapova barely gets a forehand over the net; Azarenka pressing the advantage puts her forehand down the line into the tape.
15-30, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Big swinging serve out to the forehand of Azarenka there. Belaurssian can do nothing with it except get the faintest touch on it. Great serve. Clutch serve.
0-30, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Forehand long there from the Russian. Challenge unsuccessful.
0-15, Sharapova serving to stay in the Championship.
Forehand error into the net.
Azarenka holds, leads 5-4 final set.
Surely this is it for Sharapova. The Russian is simply swinging at everything, and with her serve falling apart over the past hour, this could be the game that Azarenka breaks her opponent and books her place in the 2012 U.S. Open Final.
Can Azarenka break Sharapova this game?
We'll soon find out...
Big ace down the middle!! Sharapova holds, ties match at 4-all.
Sharapova going down the tee every single time it seems, but Azarenka keeps getting beat there.
Azarenka serving now. 4-all. Final set.
Forehand to the backhand court. Too strong. Azarenka went the wrong way.
Deuce on the Sharapova serve. Again.
Another wayward backhand for the Russian, and Azarenka takes the World No. 3 to deuce. Is this where Azarenka breaks her opponent and comes away with victory?
30-15, Sharapova serving, trails 4-3 final set.
Good come back from the Russian here.
Forcing Azarenka to make her shots, and she hasn't been able to hit them this game. Two shots long and the World No. 3 is back in control for this game.
For now, anyway.
0-15, Sharapova serving.
That's her 10th double fault this match.
Azarenka holds to 15, leads third set 4-3.
Finally! A game that didn't go through ten or twelve deuces to get a result.
The World No. 1 is starting to pull away from Sharapova here, and if she can keep the ball in play for long enough, she will end up winning the point.
Nice long break for the players here, and with a chance to clear her head, you think that Azarenka could break the Russian here and then serve for the match.
Biggest game of the tournament for Sharapova.
Won advantage! Sharapova holds, ties third set at three games all.
No excessive celebration there; just emotional relief from Sharapova at the end of that game, as she was finally able to hang on to her own service game there.
One break of serve is all it will take.
Azarenka is making better shots and making more shots, but can't quite seem to find the way through the Russian international at the moment. Fascinating 30 minutes or so ahead here.
Double fault, Sharapova.
Had advantage. Lost advantage. Had advantage. Lost advantage. Had advantage....
And we're still at deuce.
The last three games have totaled over 30 minutes of action between them—this is a total war out there right now and both women simply don't want to make the mistake that could cost them their Grand Slam chances.
Engrossing tennis, even if it is quite poor quality.
And we're at deuce!!
Can I say that I called that?
Pressure definitely on the Russian now—keeps looking up to her box to help her land a first serve and explain why she keeps hitting it into the net. And if those aren't the reasons, then she really needs to stop looking to the box.
Sharapova finding the net and not a lot else.
Sharapova's turn to go 30-0 up.
Assuming we'll go to deuce soon. Sharapova serving, 3-2 down in third and final set.
Azarenka holds! Leads third set 3-2.
Courtesy of some incredible defensive shots, Azarenka holds serve after deuce and takes a 3-2 lead on serve in the third and final set.
You get the feeling that whoever first breaks in this final set will go on to clinch the match.
Sharapova back to deuce!
After being down 40-0, Sharapova fights back and we're suddenly at deuce—Azarenka serving at 2-all in the third set.
Every game a big game at the moment. Still sticking with Vika, but tough to count out Maria here.
40-0, Azarenka serving.
Sharapova doing it tough; Azarenka doing it much easier.
Winners, errors on the Russian's racket all that she needs to take a 3-2 lead in this set.
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