During the one extended dry spots of an otherwise soggy Tuesday afternoon, top-seeded Victoria Azarenka and the defending US Open champion, Samantha Stosur, packed in a quarterfinal match worth all the waiting.
It started as a blowout for Azarenka, but one rain delay and three sets later she was fighting for every point in a third-set tiebreaker in which one last twist gave Azarenka a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) victory.
Each player turned on the power and used every shot in her arsenal to hold off the other. The match lasted 2 hours 23 minutes and was packed with swings of momentum and emotion. Azarenka’s triumph sent her to the Open semifinals for the first time.
“I have no words,” Azarenka said. “I think we both show some excellent tennis. I think we both felt the pressure all the time. We really both gave it our all, fought really hard and made each other run like crazy.”
A back-and-forth third set, which featured four consecutive service breaks and each player’s bouncing back from her own mistakes, careered into the tiebreaker. Stosur seemed to lose her nerve and fell behind, 0-4, with several unforced errors. Baut she fought back and had an edge when Azarenka committed an egregious double fault to put things back on serve at 5-4.
“You don’t want to know what I kept telling myself,” Azarenka said. “I would have to beep that, I think.”
But instead of getting frustrated, Azarenka got mad. A drop shot for a winner put her up, 6-5, and one last wild forehand by Stosur ended it.
The match finished just before the rain started again, scrambling the rest of the schedule. The women’s quarterfinal did not set up well for Stosur. She not only had not beaten Azarenka in six career meetings, but she also had not won a set from her.
The women’s quarterfinal did not set up well for Stosur. She not only had not beaten Azarenka in six career meetings, but she also had not won a set from her. When they met in the final of a hardcourt tournament in Doha this year, Azarenka won, 6-1, 6-2. When they played in the first round of the WTA Championships last year, it was similarly lopsided, 6-2, 6-2.
On top of that, Azarenka has not lost this year after winning the first set. And she was 10-0 in three-set matches.
“She never gives up,” Stosur said of Azarenka. “She fights very hard every single match she plays, and she does it very well. That’s probably part of the reason she’s No. 1 at the moment. She’s one of the players you have to get out there, and she barely gives you any points and you have to work hard for every single point.” This victory also keeps Azarenka in the No 1 ranking.