US Open: Victoria Azarenka determined to make up for painful loss to Serena Williams
Victoria Azarenka is determined to make amends after an agonising defeat in the US Open final last year.
Last Updated: 26/08/13 5:16am
The Belarusian was just two points away from beating the American in last year's championship match when Williams drew on her all her experience and raised her game to win a three-set thriller.
It was a painful loss for the fiercely competitive Azarenka, but rather than dwell on her near-miss, she has taken it as a positive experience and believes it has helped make her a tougher player.
"I never look back, I always look forward," Azarenka said. "My head doesn't spin all the way back.
"It will always be a special moment because I felt like that whole tournament, that final match left a big mark on my future career. I still feel that way."
The 24-year-old overcame her disappointment at Flushing Meadows by bouncing back to win in Australia, at the start of this year.
She also beat Williams in the final of the Qatar Open and then completed a hat-trick of wins her again last week, coming from a set down to win the Cincinnati Open final in a third set tiebreak.
"It gives you great confidence but I always think that the new week is the new story," Azarenka said. "We all start from zero here."
Azarenka seems perfectly suited to the hard courts at Flushing Meadows, but initially struggled with her emotion in the pressure-cooker atmosphere. Her best result was reaching the fourth round in 2007, before she unlocked the door last year and reached the final.
"I just feel like I switched the light," she said. "It is hard...I feel like you have to find your own way on how to do it.
"There is kind of like a recipe that you have to make for yourself to go through those emotions, because it can be a roller coaster sometimes."