Victoria Azarenka blasted her way into the US Open semi-finals and made clear she is the kind of form that can end Serena Williams’ hopes of a 24th Grand Slam title.
Azarenka came into the tournament on the back of winning the Western and Southern Open and she has maintained that form through the US Open, dropping one set on her way to the last four.
On Wednesday night, the Belarussian conceded just one game as she sailed past 16th seed Elise Mertens.
And she will now face Williams, who needed three sets to overcome Tsvetana Pironkova.
Williams has beaten Azarenka 19 times throughout their careers and will be the slight favourite going into the match.
The American has battled her way through the semi-finals and is now just two wins away from a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
But Azarenka is excited at the prospect of facing Williams and continue her 11-match winning run.
“Not necessarily New York. I love playing against Serena,” Azarenka said when asked about playing Williams in New York.
“I think we have one of the best matches – at least that I played in my career – against her. We always played on big stages.
“It was a lot of big fights. She’s one of the players who push me to the limit, who makes me better. I’m excited for that.
“It’s been a while since we played. I think the last time was, what is it, Indian Wells. I think we both were not really playing well at that time.
“I think the semifinal of a Grand Slam is a different stage. It’s going to be a different fight. I’m looking forward to it.”
The match between Williams and Azarenka has an added significance with both players being mothers of young children.
And Williams says her performances are proof women can still compete at the highest level after pregnancy and age is ‘just a number’.
She said: “I think when you’re a mom, you overcome so much just to become that and to be that.
“And then I feel like, you know, age is really how you feel mentally and how your body is doing and how you physically are able to keep up.
“If you think of it as just a number, then that’s all it is. So, yeah, I just think people always say you’re not always to do something at a certain age, but, you know, with technology and time, we can kind of make that age a little bit longer.”
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