The Japanese has a slight supremacy in the duel against the Belarusian, although the last time they met they played a very even match.
Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka will meet in the women’s final of the 2020 US Open tennis, in which in turn it will be the fourth match between the two, although with a particularity.
It is that both will have the opportunity this Saturday, September 12, to settle the bitter taste that they had left by the truncated duel of a couple of weeks ago in the definition of the Premier 5 tournament in Cincinnati, which was left in the hands of the Belarusian for the non-presentation of the Japanese and prevented that match went on to integrate the history between both tennis players.
The sensations of Victoria Azarenka in that failed final it was less painful than those of Naomi Osaka, because it also meant for the European to have won a title again after four years, a period in which she was the mother of her first child, Leo Alexander, a change in her life that led her to be away from the circuit for a while: motherhood first but later because of the legal battle for the possession of the child she had with Billy McKeague, her ex-partner.
For this reason, the clash in the final of the United States Open, although it will be the fifth scheduled match between the two, will truly represent the fourth confrontation in history, which so far is led by the Japanese by 2 to 1.
They met for the first time in the third round of the 2016 Australian Open. Osaka, just 18 years old, was playing her first Grand Slam tournament, to whose main draw he had acceded from the classification, after eliminating the Chinese Kai-Lin Zhang, the Russian Alexandra Panova and the Japanese Miyu Kato.
In that Melbourne contest, Osaka easily surpassed her first two matches in the Grand Slam draw, as she defeated Croatian Donna Vekic 6-3 and 6-2 and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (18 in pre-qualification) 6-4 and 6-4.
In the third round the stick of difficulty went up a lot, because Azarenka was the 14th favorite of the tournament, added to the wear and tear that the young Japanese had added with five previous matches, so that initial duel was resolved with total superiority by the Belarusian, who won by a double 6-1. The path to the European in Australia continued to the quarter-finals, where she was eliminated by the German Angelique Kerber, who would later become champion of the contest.
Two years later, with Fault back on the circuit, they met again in the first round in Rome, on brick dust, but Osaka She was already a player profiled to fight at the top of the ranking, so much so that she had just won Indian Wells on the first American tour on hard courts.
In the Foro Italico, the Japanese did not give her rival options, as she won 6-0 and 6-3.
At that meeting in the Italian capital, Azarenka could barely win 23% of the points played on the first serve and was overwhelmed by the aggressive return of Osaka.
The last match played by both was in the second round of Roland Garros 2019, which saw a very even clash. Azarenka had the Japanese against the ropes, who recovered to win 4-6, 7-5 and 6-3.
After winning the first set, the Belarusian had 4-2 and a break point in favor in the second, at which time Osaka began to raise the bar. It failed less and fatigue was taking its toll on Azarenka. After staying with the second set, the third was easier for the Japanese.
On August 29, the fourth game between the two should have been played, the Cincinnati final, which this year, exceptionally in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, was played in the same Billie Jean King complex in New York City , the home of the US Open. But Azarenka won the final without playing due to Osaka’s no-show.
The Japanese suffered a hamstring injury in her left leg, a discomfort she had felt in the tie break in the second set of the semifinal against Belgian Elise Mertens, and therefore announced her desertion shortly before the game. Osaka, however, attended the award ceremony, in which Azarenka was anointed as the winner of the 21st title of her career..
Now, Osaka, winner of the 2018 US Open, will seek her second title at Flushing Meadows, and Azarenka will go for her rematch in the tournament final, since he lost the two disputed so far, in 2012 and 2013 against Serena Williams, whom he has just eliminated in the semifinals.