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Thursday February 25th, 2021 7:37PM

The Latest: Williams takes first set 6-1 in US Open semi

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):

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10:30 p.m.

Serena Williams is a set away from another U.S. Open final after overpowering Victoria Azarenka 6-1 in the first set of their semifinal.

Williams won the first four games and wrapped up the set by breaking Azarenka for the third time.

The third-seeded Williams is trying to win a 24th Grand Slam singles final, which would tie Margaret Court's record. She lost in the U.S. Open final the last two years, falling in 2018 to Naomi Osaka.

Osaka is already into the final.

Williams is 18-4 against Azarenka, including wins against in the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Open final.

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9:50 p.m.

Serena Williams is trying to reach her third straight U.S. Open final, facing Victoria Azarenka in the second semifinal.

Williams is looking to win her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would tie Margaret Court's record. She's gotten one win away the last two years in Flushing Meadows, falling to Naomi Osaka in 2018 and Bianca Andreescu last year.

The third-seeded Williams would face Osaka again if she wins. The No. 4 seed from Japan beat Jennifer Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal.

Williams beat Azarenka in the 2012 and 2013 finals for two of her six titles at the U.S. Open. She leads the series 18-4, including 10-0 in Grand Slam tournaments.

The unseeded Azarenka is a two-time major champion.

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9:25 p.m.

Naomi Osaka has reached the U.S. Open final for the second time in three years, pulling away to beat Jennifer Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3 in the first semifinal.

The 2018 champion will meet Serena Williams or Victoria Azarenka on Saturday. If it's Williams, it would be a rematch of the final from two years ago, when Osaka won her first major title.

The hard-hitting match Thursday under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium swung when Osaka got her only break of the match to take a 3-1 lead in the third set.

Brady was playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal.

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8:45 p.m.

Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady are going to a third set in the first women's semifinal at the U.S. Open.

Osaka won the first set 7-6 (1) but Brady rallied by securing the only service break in the match thus far late in the second set and then closing it out 6-3.

Brady, the No. 28-seeded American, hadn't dropped a set on the way to her first Grand Slam semifinal until Osaka, the 2018 champion at Flushing Meadows, won the final five points of the tiebreaker.

The other semifinal, between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, will follow.

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7:20 p.m.

Naomi Osaka is trying to return to the U.S. Open women’s final, facing first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Jennifer Brady.

Osaka was the 2018 champion at Flushing Meadows and followed that up by winning the Australian Open the next January.

The No. 4 seed from Japan arrived on the court for the evening’s first semifinal with a mask featuring the name of Philando Castile, a Black man who was killed by Minnesota police during a traffic stop in 2016.

Brady, the No. 28 seed, hasn’t lost more than four games in any set during the tournament.

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4:50 p.m.

Bruno Soares of Brazil and Mate Pavic of Croatia have won the men’s doubles title at the U.S. Open, beating Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Nikola Mektic of Croatia 7-5, 6-3.

The Grand Slam title in men's doubles is the third for Soares, the second for Pavic and their first together. They’re 24-15 as a team since joining forces last year.

Soares and Pavic won by breaking serve once in each set. The first break came on the final point of the opening set, when Soares hit a forehand return cross-court into the corner for a winner.

Pavic’s lob winner produced another break to give his team a 4-2 lead in the final set, and he served out the match at love.

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3:10 p.m.

Play is underway at the U.S. Open, where the women's semifinals are Thursday night.

The first match on the schedule is the men's doubles final, with Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares facing Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic.

Naomi Osaka will play American Jennifer Brady in the first women's semifinal, and Serena Williams will take on Victoria Azarenka. Williams-Azarenka is a rematch of the 2012 and 2013 Open finals won by Williams, who needs two more victories for her seventh Open championship and a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Tennis, AP Sports - Men's Tennis, AP Sports - Women's Tennis
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