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Thursday February 25th, 2021 8:28PM

The Latest: Azarenka easily takes 1st set in U.S. Open final

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

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4:45 p.m.

Victoria Azarenka easily moved within a set of her first U.S. Open women's singles title, leading Naomi Osaka 6-1.

Azarenka broke the fourth-seeded Osaka's serve three times and took advantage of the 2018 champion's surprising shakiness. Osaka had 13 unforced errors, 10 more than Azarenka.

The unseeded Azarenka has won two Grand Slam titles but is 0-2 in the U.S. Open final.

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4:20 p.m.

Naomi Osaka is trying to keep her perfect record in Grand Slam championship matches intact as she faces Victoria Azarenka in the U.S. Open women's final.

Osaka is 2 for 2 in the major finals, beating Serena Williams to win the 2018 U.S. Open title and following that by winning the Australian Open title to open the 2019 season.

Azarenka has also won two majors but is winless in her two U.S. Open finals, falling to Williams in 2012 and 2013.

Osaka walked onto the court wearing a mask with the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old Black boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014.

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3:30 p.m.

Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka were supposed to play two weeks ago in Flushing Meadows.

Same stadium, much bigger stage Saturday.

Osaka and Azarenka will meet in the U.S. Open women's final, with the winner earning her third Grand Slam singles title.

Osaka, the No. 4 seed from Japan, won her first major title two years ago at the U.S. Open. She went on to win another in 2019 at the Australian Open, a title Azarenka won twice.

They arrived at a chance to win another with three-set victories in the semifinals, where Osaka outlasted Jennifer Brady and the unseeded Azarenka rallied past Serena Williams.

They are both unbeaten during this lengthy stay in New York, where the Western & Southern Open was played preceding the U.S. Open. Azarenka won that tournament, normally held in Ohio but moved because of the coronavirus pandemic, when Osaka had to pull out of the final with a hamstring injury.

The players will be greeted by sunny skies and a breeze after having to play their semifinal matches Thursday with the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof closed because of heavy rain.

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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 - Women's Tennis
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