Third seed Serena Williams lost her semi-final match of the U.S. Open by 1-6 6-3 6-3 to Victoria Azarenka on Thursday to bow out of the competition.
The loss denied Serena the chance of winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title on home soil this year.
Azarenka will now face Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Saturday in her third final at Flushing Meadows, having lost the previous two to Williams in 2012 and 2013.
Azarenka said her mental game had been crucial in beating the 38-year-old Williams, who needed a medical timeout to have her left ankle re-taped in the third set due to Achilles trouble.
“I have been working on finding a calm mind and keep the body going,” the Belarusian said in an on-court interview.
“She dug me in a big hole in the first set. I needed to find energy to climb out of the hole and it wasn’t easy.”
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