US Open: Azarenka clobbers Mertens to set up Serena showdown in semis

US Open: Azarenka clobbers Mertens to set up Serena showdown in semis

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Denis Shapovalov's run at the U.S. Open is over.

Up next for the 38-year-old Serena, who has been pushed to three sets in her last three victories, will be either Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens or former world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in Thursday's semi-final.

Shapovalov was Canada's last hope for a title in NY this year.

Williams is in her own orbit when it comes to service; her 64 aces are more than double the nearest competitor. No Canadians are in the wheelchair tournaments, which start tomorrow. On the men's side, there's guaranteed to be a first-time Grand Slam victor.

The signs are there that Azarenka will meet Williams" expectations and bring her "A game'. Top seed Novak Djokovic, you may have heard, was disqualified in the fourth round for hitting a linesperson in the neck with a ball between points.

The unseeded Azarenka is bidding to end a seven-year wait for a third Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows. Those three guys combined to win the last 13 in a row.

The victor of Mother vs. Mother will face the victor of Thursday night's first semifinal between No. 9 Naomi Osaka and No. 41 Jennifer Brady in Saturday's championship match.

After facing Tsvetana Pironkova, who has just returned from three years out to start her family, Williams hailed the fortitude shown by all mothers on the tour.

Williams' semifinal opponent on Thursday will be the victor of Wednesday's second semifinal between Victoria Azarenka and Elise Mertens. No. 28 seed Jennifer Brady.

If Osaka and Serena end up meeting, it'll be a rematch of the infamous 2018 U.S. Open final.

Six-time champion Williams was forced to fight back from a set down for the third consecutive round before clinching a 4-6 6-3 6-2 success over the Bulgarian, who was playing in her first tournament for three years. Williams also could not pick up on her opponent's serving patterns. That put Osaka in the awkward position of feeling like she needed to apologize (she tearfully told the fans "I'm sorry") during what should have been the happiest moment of her life.

The two-time Grand Slam victor, will renew her rivalry with Serena Williams in the last four on Thursday.

But that was until she used her experience to find a way back against a resurgent Pironkova. Her Grand Slam wins from one set down include two in this tournament, counting the third round against Sloane Stephens.

Williams is looking to match Margaret Court's record for the most number of singles Grand Slam wins.

Azarenka's last Slam title came at the 2013 Australian Open, when she retained the crown she had won a year earlier.

Mallory was a Norwegian tennis legend who played in a long white skirt and hammered a shot people called a forehand drive that was the most lethal weapon of her era. If Williams - soon to be 39 - can keep her current form and manage her nerves and win two more matches in Flushing Meadows, she will be right behind Mallory as the second oldest singles champion, male or female, in the 140-year history of the USA championships. That's the last hill left for Serena to climb.

The big points did what big points involving Serena Williams tend to do, such as when she hung on like Serena Williams herself through the 16-point, five-deuce first game of the third set to break serve.

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