They’ve played each other 15 times in all, and Williams has won 12.
When they met in last year’s U.S. Open final — this will be the first rematch at Flushing Meadows since the Williams sisters played each other in 2001 and 2002 — Azarenka pushed it to a third set and was two points away from victory. But Williams took the last four games.
“Not that I don’t care what happened in the past, but I think there is no need for paying so much attention to what happened. [You’re] always going take a few things, positive or negative and try to kind of apply it in your new match, new performance,” Azarenka said. “But it’s always a new story. I don’t even think that it’s going to be close to the same as it was last year.”
Well, then, let’s examine the 2013 U.S. Open.
Through six matches, Williams has won every set, losing a total of only 16 games. Only once in the last 25 years has a woman dropped fewer games through six full matches en route to a Grand Slam final (Mary Pierce dropped only 10 at the 1994 French Open, then lost the final.)
Azarenka has lost two sets and 40 games, including 13 in her fourth-round match alone. Her serving has been particularly shaky: 31 double-faults, 10 aces, 20 breaks. Williams, in contrast, was broken only twice so far.
So how can anyone solve Williams’ game right now?
“You’ve got to fight,” Azarenka said. “You know, you’ve got to run, you’ve got to grind, and you’ve got to bite with your teeth for whatever opportunity you have.”
It’s clear these two have separated themselves from the rest of the pack, and not just because they’re the top two in the rankings.