US Open Ladies' Singles final: Serena Williams v Victoria Azarenka
Last Updated: 08/09/13 8:41pm
World number one Serena Williams is gunning for a 17th Grand Slam title when she takes on Victoria Azarenka in the US Open final in Flushing Meadows on Sunday.
Williams is seeking back-to-back titles in New York in a repeat of last year's final which she won in three sets against Belarusian Azarenka.
After titles in 1999, 2002, 2008 and last year the American is seeking her fifth US Open crown. She has lost two finals, in 2001 to sister Venus and the 2011 final to Australia's Samantha Stosur.
Williams is six Grand Slam triumphs behind Steffi Graf's all-time record of 22 majors, but the 31-year-old is not letting herself think about closing in on the German's all-time record.
"I can't think about it," Williams said. "It's so close but still so far. I have to play a great player and play great tennis."
Williams, who has lost only 16 games over six matches, could win the title 18 days before her 32nd birthday, making her 293 days older than the previous oldest winner, Australian Margaret Court, who won the 1973 title.
Not since Williams in 2008 has a US Open champion lifted the trophy without losing a set, but Serena could make it happen Sunday by winning her ninth crown of the year, what would be her career-record title haul for one season.
"I have been really focused," she said. "My practices have been much better than my matches. I set some goals for myself in my matches and I've met those goals every time."
"My practices have been much better than my matches. I set some goals for myself in my matches and I've met those goals every time."
But world number two Azarenka, 24, sees herself as a more versatile and dangerous player than when she lost to Williams 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the final a year ago.
"There are aspects that got better physically," Azarenka said. "Mentally I felt like this year was a great turning point for me on some level for my career. I feel like I'm a better player. I'm a more complete player.
"From the groundstrokes to movement to coming in to variety, I think all those little things are coming together, paying a lot more details on how to create a bigger arsenal."
Azarenka, who won the past two Australian Open titles, seeks a third career Grand Slam title and could become the first woman since Martina Hingis in 1997 to win the US and Australian Opens in the same year.
Williams leads the all-time rivalry 12-3 but Azarenka has won two of three matches this year, most recently in last month's Cincinnati final.