The standout match on Day 4 at the US Open is undoubtedly the clash between the two Belarussians in the women’s draw. Two-time losing finalist Victoria Azarenka takes on Aryna Sabalenka in what could turn out to be a fascinating clash between one of the best players of the last decade and a player that has the potential to be a stand out for this decade.
Watch the Azarenka vs Sabalenka Live Stream Here.
Azarenka was victorious at the Western & Southern Open, taking her first title as a mother by unfortunate circumstances after Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the final. However, she was impressive in navigating her draw with just one set lost against a group of tricky opponents. “I’m excited to go out there and play, my confidence level, I don’t think it changed just based on the result that I won here. I felt pretty confident in my work that I have been doing. So the result is just confirmation that what I have been doing is right, but going on the court, I have been pretty confident in my abilities. It’s just putting those things together now. It shows that it’s the right work that I have been doing.” she said at the weekend. A straight forward win against Barbara Haas in round one puts her in good shape going into the next round.
Sabalenka’s form since the tour restarted has been far from stellar for a player hoping to go deep in New York. She lost three setters to Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula in her two tournaments prior to the US Open, where she began this fortnight with a straight sets win against a dangerous Oceane Dodin. It was a good serving performance in the 7-6 6-4 win with 11 aces contributing to a 94% first serve points won stat.
“We had a really great match last year (US Open). It was really high quality. It didn’t go my way. I feel like this year it’s a great opportunity to kind of see where my level is at versus her level.” Azarenka said. Very few would have predicted anything other than an easy Sabalenka win if this match had been played before the Western & Southern Open. A resurgent Azarenka would be a great thing to see on the tour long term, especially with many feeling her peak years deserved more than just two Australian Open titles. Sabalenka has the power to overwhelm Azarenka but should see be off her game, it appears the former No.1 may have enough to make life very difficult for her fellow countrywoman.
Prediction – Victoria Azarenka in three sets