US Open: Azarenka is last credible obstacle to ‘Calendar Slam’
Deep into another US Open, it feels a lot like Serena Williams’ march towards another astonishing Grand Slam milestone has now gathered too much momentum to be halted, even by those cross-court winds which left Andy Murray cursing after his shock exit.
Serena’s very own sibling was the last to offer some resistance, but even though Venus Williams roared back to claim the second set 6-1 in the pair’s quarter-final clash, the younger sister recomposed herself to claim victory.
With Serena Slam MII already banked at Wimbledon, ‘Calendar Slam’ is next in the crosshairs for the American phenomenon, as she aims to complete the magic foursome of Grand Slam titles in the same year.
Given Williams is chasing a fourth consecutive US Open crown and a recording-breaking seventh in the Open Era, it’s no surprise at all to see Ladbrokes install her as the 4/11 favourite for glory ahead of her semi final.
Nothing in sport is ever certain, but her price of 1/16 to defeat Roberta Vinci – ranked 42 places lower than the world number one and yet to win a set off Serena in four prior clashes -suggest the American will at least get a crack at Calendar Slam in Saturday’s final.
The million dollar question is whether anyone on the other side of the draw could possibly spoil the party in the Big Apple?
If anyone of the four ladies left in the other side of the draw can, it’s the resurgent Victoria Azarenka, at 11/2, who Serena will fear (if she even feels that emotion?) the most.
The Belarusian may be 19 Slams short of Williams’ current total, but the former world number one possesses the power game to trouble Serena and the form at this tournament to match.
Azarenka has dropped a set less than Serena en-route to her last-eight clash against Simona Halep, that she’s 4/9 to prevail in, while she’s taken the American the distance in all three 2015 meetings.
None of those came on the two-time Australian Open champion’s favourite hard surface either.
Before injury struck in 2014, Azarenka had also made the 2012 and 2013 showpieces at Flushing Meadows, pushing Serena to three sets in both.
It’s obviously a huge ask, especially as Azarenka still has two matches to safely negotiate before even earning a shot at the champion, but her superior first-serve return points and break points won bode well.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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