Chasing the elusive 24th Major crown, Serena Williams advanced to her 14th US Open semi-final and the 11th in a row since 2008. Despite giving her everything against a great friend Victoria Azarenka, Serena suffered a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss in an hour and 55 minutes, suffering the sixth setback in the 39th Major semi-final and missing another chance to match Margaret Court.
Asked about the upcoming Roland Garros, Serena said she is ready to travel to Europe and fight for the crown in Paris, extending the season for at least one more tournament. Williams has been seeking the 24th Major title ever since the Australian Open 2017 when she claimed the last crown so far, losing Wimbledon and the US Open finals in 2018 and 2019.
The American had to work hard in New York this year, competing without her partisan crowd and still giving her best to overall all the rivals and go as afar as possible. From the third round, a great champion had to fight hard against Sloane Stephens, Maria Sakkari and Tsvetlana Pironkova, prevailing in three sets to advance into the last four.
Despite an emphatic start against Vika, Serena couldn't stay on that level for the entire match, losing ground in sets two and three to finish another Major run without the trophy in her hands. Williams had the upper hand against the Belarusian in the past, winning 18 out of 22 encounters and facing Vika only once after Indian Wells 2016.
Before Thursday, they were rivals at Majors on ten occasions, with Serena securing all victories for a clear dominance over her friend.
Serena Williams will play for the 24th Major title in Paris in October.
Playing on a high level for the previous three weeks, Vika changed all that in their latest clash, bouncing back after a terrible opener to defeat Serena, advancing into the first Major final in seven years.
Williams had the upper hand in the first set with three breaks of serve, controlling the pace and looking good to march into the final in no time at all. Ready to fight until the end, Victoria shifted into a higher gear in set number two, serving well and stealing Serena's serve twice for a 6-3.
The third set was a high-quality contest and it brought an early break for Azarenka, defending her games nicely to move over the top and set the title clash against Naomi Osaka. "I made a strong start but Victoria kept fighting.
She raised her game and played better and better. Maybe I took a little too much off the gas at some point, but full credits to her. It's disappointing, but I did what I could today. Other times, I have been close and I could have done better. Today, I feel like I gave a lot. I'm going to travel to Europe and play Roland Garros," Serena Williams said.