The 2012 U.S. Open women's final will be remembered for Serena Williams' dramatic third set comeback to defeat Victoria Azarenka. Because of the end result, what will be forgotten is Azarenka's determination to push the match to that third set. Despite being the top seed in the tournament, the 23 year old from Belarus was widely viewed as the underdog going into the match. After the first set, Azarenka's title hopes seemed to have all but diminished. Her match later ended in heartbreak. In between, Azarenka showed the world that she has the potential to be one of the most dominant players in tennis for years to come.
Let's jump to the start of set number two. Williams had just demolished Azarenka in the opening set, 6-2. It seemed inevitable that Williams would cruise to an easy straight set victory. She had yet to lose a single set in the 2012 Open. Her 26-1 match record since being ousted in the first round of this year's French Open made her seem almost invincible. Williams' history against Azarenka also provided no reason to think the young Belarusian would upset her veteran opponent from the U.S. Their lifetime head-to-head scoreboard showed nine wins for Williams to just one for Azarenka entering the final.
Azarenka clearly still believed. She came out firing in the second set, making Williams look human again en route to a 6-2 set in favor of Azarenka. For the first time since 1995, the women's final at Flushing Meadows was forced to a decisive third set. Azarenka didn't let up. She kept Williams off balance for much of the set, jumping out to a 5-3 lead. Soon after, two points were all that separated Azarenka from the championship when Williams suddenly regained control of the match. The last four games of the match, and consequently the title, went to Williams.
Defeats such as this are difficult to move past, but Azarenka has a bright future ahead. Just two more timely points and she would have been the U.S. Open champion and the undisputed #1 player in the world. Williams, at age thirty, was competing in her nineteenth Grand Slam final. For Azarenka, it was only her second. Her other appearance came in the 2012 Australian Open title match, which she won.
There may not be another woman in the world capable of battling back against a red-hot Serena Williams the way Victoria Azarenka did in the U.S. Open final. Yes, Azarenka came up short on this occasion. Don't get used to it. Her number of Grand Slam titles will soon be on the rise.
Aaron Griggs has enjoyed watching tennis for a long time, and began playing the sport when he chose it for a P.E. elective in college.
- Sports & Recreation
- Serena Williams
- Victoria Azarenka