Sep 6 2013
Victoria Azarenka defeated Flavia Pennetta to reach her second consecutive US Open final.
The two-time Australian Open champion was just too strong for first-time grand slam semi-finalist Pennetta as she battled to a 6-4 6-2 victory.
It was a competitive match in which both players struggled on serve.
Out of 18 games, 13 were breaks, with Pennetta holding her serve just once in the whole match.
The end of the first set was the key to Azarenka's victory.
The second seed let out a piercing scream after missing a simple volley at 30-30 in the ninth game but Pennetta was unable to capitalise and Azarenka eventually held to take the set.
Pennetta saved five set points but on the sixth Azarenka, somewhat ironically, came up with an unreturnable serve.
The second set was more one-sided and Azarenka clinched victory on her third match point with a forehand winner.
The Belarusian will surely need to serve better if she is to win a first title in New York in what could well be a rematch of last year's gripping final against Serena Williams.
For Pennetta, meanwhile, it has been an outstanding tournament at the end of one of the most difficult years of her career.
The 31-year-old Italian missed the tournament last year after having wrist surgery that kept her out for six months, and she struggled on her return to the tour, dropping well outside the top 100.
Pennetta's results mean she will rise from her current ranking of 83 close to the top 30 when the standings are updated on Monday.