Third set: Osaka 1-6, 6-3, 1-0 Azarenka *
The Osaka keeps comfortably in opening the third set, closing the game with its 23rd and 24th winner (against 18 unforced errors). He has won seven of his last eight games. A complete 180.
Osaka wins the second set, 6-3!
Osaka breaks into the ninth game of the second set!
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 6-3 Azarenka
Osaka pushes Azarenka to double at 40-15, then overcooks a backhand from the baseline to break and set point down. He saves him with an assist from another unforced mistake from Osaka, only for Osaka to gain another break chance after a few more points. This time Osaka converts with a clear backhand winner from the baseline, breaking through a marathon of 16 points in nine minutes, and we’re headed for a decisive.
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 5-3 Azarenka *
Osaka has found its service. She is pushed to 30-all, but then goes 112 mph ace in the tube followed by the backhand winner at the start of the point. Now Azarenka will serve to stay in the second set.
Osaka breaks into the seventh game of the second set!
Second set: * Osaka 1-6, 4-3 Azarenka
A momentary pause in an Azarenka service game and she is quickly down for love-40. Save the first with a big right. The Osaka can’t come back, but then the reverse will overcook the approaching reverse and now the Osaka has a break.
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 3-3 Azarenka *
Osaka hits a love squeeze, service win, serve winner, forehand winner, ace at 107mph off wide.
Second set: * Osaka 1-6, 2-3 Azarenka
Azarenka delivers her most imperious grip ever, beating a pair of aces and a second serve winner of 82 mph.
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 2-2 Azarenka *
Osaka holds from love-15, beating a pair of 109mph aces along the way to solidify the break for 2-all. Osaka served an average of 12 miles per hour faster than Azarenka back in the day, but only got 70% of its first services (compared to Vika’s 90%).
Osaka breaks into the third game of the second set!
Second set: * Osaka 1-6, 1-2 Azarenka
Osaka returns to 40-30 on Azarenka’s serve, who has already scored three victories in the match. But Osaka manages to double up with a straight winner, then snatches a forehand that Azarenka can’t manage for her first break point of the game. And she converts it with an assist from Azarenka’s fourth unforced error of this set – after only making three in the entire beginning.
Azarenka breaks into the second game of the second set!
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 0-2 Azarenka *
Osaka’s bad day at the office takes a turn for the worse when he falls behind love-15 and then 15-40 on serve, giving Azarenka two points for a 2-love break. Osaka saves the first with his first ace of the afternoon, 93 mph in the middle. But Azarenka converts with a winning backhand to the next point and takes the lead in the second set.
Azarenka wins the first set, 6-1!
Azarenka breaks into the seventh game of the first set!
First set: Osaka 1-6 Azarenka
Osaka chip in unforced error No. 13 on his serve and suddenly Azarenka is three points from set. Osaka responds with a backhand winner and a 93mph serve winner, only for Azarenka pushing him to two. From there Azarenka closes the set, shattering Osaka for the third time in 26 minutes with a backhand winner.
First set: * Osaka 1-5 Azarenka
Osaka continue to waste their first goal, mixing their 10th and 11th unforced errors as Azarenka runs 40-15. Osaka pushes to hell with an Azarenka mistake followed by a straight-fly winner to settle a 10-shot exchange. But Azarenka holds up easily from there to consolidate the break and Osaka will serve to stay in the first set.
Azarenka breaks into the fifth game of the first set!
First set: Osaka 1-4 Azarenka *
Azarenka pushed 30-all on Osaka’s serve after Osaka’s eighth unforced error (versus two winners). Then Osaka shuffles his second double foul of the day for the break point … and Azarenka converts it when Osaka pushes a long forehand at the start of a base rally. Vika earns a double break after just 17 minutes. Osaka’s serve is way below the standard we’re used to seeing in this tournament (or one of its two previous Grand Slam finals).
First set: * Osaka 1-3 Azarenka
Azarenka stays in front after succumbing to another easy hold. He has won eight of nine points on his serve.
First set: Osaka 1-2 Azarenka *
Osaka makes his sixth unforced mistake of the afternoon on a 15-all forehand, but rattles off the next three points on his serve to close the direct catch and get on the scoreboard.
First set: * Osaka 0-2 Azarenka
Azarenka supports the break comfortably with a squeeze of love. A promising start to his first major final in seven years.
Azarenka breaks into the first match of the first set!
First set: Osaka 0-1 Azarenka *
A biting serve match to start for Osaka, who opens with an unforced error on his forehand at the end of a basic 12-stroke rally. Hitting a baseline winner at the next point only quickly for 15-40, gives Azarenka a couple of early break-point chances. He saves the first of them, but gives Azarenka the break with another forehand shot on the second.
The players are finishing their warm-up and we should be underway soon. Osaka came to the field wearing a mask named after Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old black boy who was killed by Cleveland police in 2014, as part of his two-week tribute.
Tale of the tape
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for today’s US Open women’s singles final between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka. The two hottest players on the WTA tour since the sport resumed after a five-month hiatus – both former world No. 1, both two-time Grand Slam champions – are minutes away from taking to the field with each looking for a third important title in his career.
Here’s a look at the comparison between today’s finalists. Osaka hold a 2-1 all-time heads-up lead, winning their most recent bout at last year’s French Open. They were scheduled to meet for the fourth time in last week’s Western & Southern Open final, but Osaka withdrew due to a left hamstring injury.