US Open: Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka ready for 'fun' final
Azarenka: "She's won two already. Aren't we both looking for a third one? It will be fun!"
Last Updated: 12/09/20 8:58pm
Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka are both planning to enjoy every moment of their US Open final on Saturday evening.
The two players, who have yet to lose a match since the WTA Tour's resumption, are looking forward to taking to court for the Grand Slam decider.
The pair progressed strongly through their semi-final encounters with Jennifer Brady and Serena Williams respectively, and have showed their power and determination throughout their campaigns.
Azarenka's victory over Williams saw her come back from losing the opening set 6-1 and now she cannot wait for her first Grand Slam final since 2013.
"I think it's going to be an amazing final. I hope it will be," she said.
"Naomi's a very, very powerful player. She's a great champion. She's won two already. Aren't we both looking for a third one? It will be fun!"
At this year's Slam, Azarenka has spoken openly about having an ego back in 2012/13 when she was flying high, and addressed this again ahead of the final.
"I think when you're coming up from nothing, then you become a No 1 player in the world, sometimes you can start to think you're invincible and that you're better than everybody. It's not true," she said.
"I've tried to remove that and learn from my mistake of [having] that ego. I've looked to realise that being a tennis player doesn't make you better or worse than anybody else. You're still human and all you can do is try to be the best version of yourself."
Azarenka and Osaka had been due to meet in the Western & Southern Open final, however Osaka had to withdraw ahead of the match due to injury.
"I'm so excited to play her because we were supposed to play last week," Osaka said after her semi-final victory over Brady.
"It's going to be super fun. She plays incredibly. I watched her semi-final a little, and they had some incredible rallies.
"She's super powerful, so I'll have to stay strong and have fun. Playing a final is a blessing and a great opportunity, so I'll take all the fun out of it."
The road to the 2020 US Open final
|Victoria Azarenka||Naomi Osaka|
|Round One||Barbara Haas 6-1 6-2||Misaki Doi 6-2 5-7 6-2|
|Round Two||Aryna Sabalenka 6-1 6-3||Camila Giorgi 6-1 6-2|
|Round Three||Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-2||Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-2|
|Round Four||Karolina Muchova 5-7 6-1 6-4||Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-4|
|Quarter-finals||Elise Mertens 6-1 6-0||Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-4|
|Semi-finals||Serena Williams 1-6 6-3 6-3||Jennifer Brady 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3|
The 22-year-old last made the US Open final back in 2018 and won the title. Throughout this campaign, and in recent months, she has looked more at ease in herself and also believes that her mentality has changed.
"I feel like my mindset is much different this time around," she said.
"I feel like I've learned so much through the ups and downs, not even counting the finals, but just regular Tour tournaments.
"Mentally I feel stronger. I feel fitter now. It's going to be interesting to see what happens."
Both women have not lost a match since the WTA Tour resumed and they have met each other three times before. Osaka leads the head-to-head 2-1 with their last encounter coming at last year's French Open on clay.
The pair's only previous meeting on a hard court was back in 2016 when Azarenka prevailed 6-1 6-1 at the Australian Open.