And then there were two.
Williams has been extraordinary at the U.S. Open and Azarenka looks to continue her magical 2012 campaign.
Let's breakdown this epic U.S. Open Women's Final:
Williams has dominated Azarenka throughout her career
Every player or team in sports has that one foe who they struggle to defeat for one reason or another. For Azarenka, the reason she can't defeat Williams is because of her greatness.
Williams is 9-1 all-time against Azarenka and none of those losses were pretty. Even though Azarenka can hang her hat on defeating Williams on a hard court, 8-of-9 victories were straight-set victories for Williams, according to WTATennis.com.
Who does the delay benefit?
Azarenka put it all on the line in a grueling three-set victory of Maria Sharapova on Friday afternoon. She ended up making her first U.S. Open Women's Final appearance by defeating the Russian 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The match took two hours and 42 minutes to complete.
Despite being 23 years of age, Azarenka would have struggled to play Saturday night if not for the delay. She is one of the most well-conditioned athletes in the game, but her victory against Sharapova was emotionally and physically taxing to say the least.
But what people are forgetting is the fact that Williams is 30 years old. Even though her match against Sara Errani was short, lasting only one hour and four minutes, it still would have been a concern playing in back-to-back days against the world's best player.
So who does the delay benefit? It benefits both players, but in the end the fans benefit most as they get to see tennis' great stars healthy and rested in the final.
Williams won't allow Azarenka back in the match
Sharapova was dominating Azarenka early in their semifinals match. She was executing her first serve, delivering massive returns and doing the little things to get into Azarenka's head.
Then it all changed.
How? Double faults, porous first serves resulting in easy, returnable second serves and other unforced errors. Suddenly, just as Sharapova looked on top of her game, she opened the door by proving to Azarenka that she clearly wasn't.
This allowed Azarenka to settle down, relax and execute her style of play for the hard surface she so dearly loves. Here is what she said about the first set, according to WTATennis.com.
"Towards the end of the first set I was getting a little bit better, getting more and more comfortable in the match," Azarenka said. "So even though I lost the first set, once it finished, I thought I could turn it around and start from zero."
Williams is not Maria Sharapova. She's not that type of player who will allow her opponent back in match. When she knows she's got you by your neck she will go for the kill.
She has proven it throughout her career going 542-108, and she has proven it on her journey to the final by not losing a set — she rarely allows her opponent to dictate how the game is played.
Williams has been and will always be looking to set the tone of the match early. If she is on top of her game, Azarenka will be in major trouble Sunday night.
Williams wins in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
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