The 2020 US Open final will be a battle between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka, who have both been ranked No.1 and both have two Grand Slam singles titles to their names.
In the first semifinal on Thursday, Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady fought tooth-and-nail through three close sets, as the Japanese’s firepower eventually prevailed against the first-time major semifinalist who had not lost a set in New York. The match featured 19 aces, almost evenly distributed, 35 winners on each side, and a total of only six break points over the course of two hours and eight minutes.
The tight first set featured no breaks of serve and Osaka took a one-set lead by winning a lopsided tiebreaker. Brady converted the only break opportunity in the second set by winning a thrilling rally to go 5-3 up and then raced to 40-0 before using her second set point to level the match. From there it was all Osaka, who earned an early break to lead 4-1, won 14 of 17 first-serve points and never faced a break point to come back to the US Open final with a 7-6(1) 3-6 6-3 victory.
Absolutely resurrecting the second leg of her tennis career, Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams, the player who had defeated her in both her previous final appearances at the US Open, in 2012 and 2013. The 1-6 6-3 6-3 win is Azarenka’s fifth in 23 career meetings with Williams.
Two-time Grand Slam champions Osaka and Azarenka have played each other three times so far and Osaka leads their head-to-head record 2-1. Azarenka was the one to win their first and only match on hardcourts, at the 2016 Australian Open, but it was way before Osaka’s prime time. They were also supposed to meet in the recent Western & Southern Open final, but Osaka withdrew with a left hamstring injury.