Naomi Osaka vs Victoria Azarenka: US Open Preview and Prediction
In a clash of two former World No.1's, fourth seed, Naomi Osaka sets up an exciting final with Victoria Azarenka at the US Open.
The Japanese has hit peak form in her favourite grand slam. She began her run by outlasting compatriot, Misaki Doi in three sets.
She dispatched Camila Giorgi in the second round with just the loss of three games. In a tough third-round match against teen Marta Kostyuk, Osaka clinched the match in three sets.
14th seed Anett Kontaveit did not have any answers to Osaka's onslaught as she was beaten 6-3 6-4. Homegirl, Shelby Rogers who had stunned the sixth seed Petra Kvitova in the fourth round could not deliver another inspiring performance as she lost 6-3 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
In a classic semifinal that saw fortunes fluctuating between both sides, Osaka dug deep and remained steady in the decisive moments to defeat the fast-rising Jennifer Brady 7-6 3-6 6-3 to reach her second US Open final.
On the other hand, Azarenka has witnessed a surge in form since her Cincinnati Open triumph. She kickstarted her campaign with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Barbara Haas.
Compatriot and fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka was defeated comprehensively in the second round. The Belarusian brought in all her experience into play as she beat Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-2 in the third round.
Azarenka delivered a strong comeback after losing the first set to 20th seed, Karolina Muchova in the fourth round to emerge victorious in three sets. She played her best match of the tournament thrashing 16th seed, Elise Mertens 6-1 6-0 in a lopsided quarterfinal.
Despite a poor head-to-head record against a mercurial Serena Williams, Azarenka stood strong winning 1-6 6-3 6-3 in the semifinals to dent her hopes of a 24th grand-slam.
Head to Head record
Osaka leads the head to head record 2-1 against Azarenka. Having triumphed in the US Open 2018, she knows what it takes to clinch the title again. Being a two-time runner-up in the US Open, Azarenka knows the pain of finishing on the wrong side twice.
Azarenka's baseline game is firing on all cylinders now and she has improved her foot speed recently.
Osaka knows the art of staying calm with steely focus. She fearlessly goes for big shots without committing any unforced errors. Her terrific match awareness under pressure would keep her in good stead.
A classic is in store for the fans as two champions battle it out to claim glory.
Prediction - Naomi Osaka to win in three sets
Featured image credits: US Open - Twitter