Azarenka vs Osaka Live : The two best players since the season restart will collide on Saturday, as No.9 Naomi Osaka and No.27 Victoria Azarenka face-off for the US Open title. The match-up pits Azarenka’s 11-match win-streak against Osaka’s 10-match win-streak in a rematch of the Western & Southern Open final that never was, with both former No.1s vying for their third major titles.
Here are five things to look out for when the tour’s two hottest players lock horns on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
READ: US Open Final Countdown
Osaka’s Serve vs. Azarenka’s Return: Who wins the battle?
Osaka has been broken just five times over the tournament, winning 93% of her service games across six matches. When she has needed her serve on big points, it has come through for her. Osaka has saved 76% of the breakpoints she has faced, compared to Azarenka’s 50%.
Service Stats: Osaka vs. Azarenka
Aces: 35 vs. 16
Double-faults: 10 vs. 17
Unreturned 1st Serves: 44% vs. 27%
1st Serves Won: 81% vs. 68%
2nd Serves Won: 57% vs. 48%
Break Points Saved: 76% (16 of 21) vs. 50% (13 of 26)
Service Games Won: 93% (65 of 70) vs. 78% (47 of 60)
Number of Times Broken: 5 vs. 13
But Osaka has not faced a returner of Azarenka’s quality in the tournament, and the pressure the two-time Australian Open champion builds not just on the return of serve but through the subsequently neutralized rallies is unparalleled when she is at her best. And while Osaka has not faced a returner of Azarenka’s level, Azarenka comes into Saturday’s final having fended off the biggest serve in the game.
En route to her first win over Serena Williams at a major, Azarenka broke the American three times and suffocated her second serve. Azarenka has won over half her return games all tournament and her success rate when returning second serves has been off the charts. Azarenka has won 69% of her returns against second serves and she won 63% against Serena in the semifinals. Osaka’s second serve has improved but remains attackable, and if her first serve percentage drops, Azarenka will be ready to pounce.
Return Stats: Azarenka vs. Osaka
Return Points Won vs. 1st Serve: 43% vs. 36%
Return Points Won vs. 2nd Serve: 69% vs. 53%
Return Winners: 11 vs. 6
Break Points Won: 49% vs. 36%
Return Games Won: 55% vs. 30%