NEW YORK - Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka advanced to the 2012 U.S. Open Final on Friday, with a comeback victory over Maria Sharapova at Flushing Meadows.
Sharapova took the first set, but Azarenka used her impressive array of ground strokes and steady to play to work her way back into the match to earn the tight win, 3-6 6-2 6-4.
While Azarenka hit 19 unforced errors, Sharapova hit 42. Azarenka was also able to control the match with her serve, as Sharapova had only five break-point chances. Sharapova failed to advance despite serving up eight aces, and 44 winners, but the former No. 1 player in the world also had 10 double-faults.
Azarenka did her trademark dance following the victory before a delighted crowd that watched the match in humid conditions. The Belarus star conceded that she had a tough matchup against a battle-tested opponent in Sharapova.
"I tried to give whatever it takes," she said following the match.
She described her upcoming opponents, either Serena Williams or Sara Errani, as "extremely tough."
Sharapova exited the court with a look of clear disappointment. The Russian has failed to win a U.S. Open title since 2006. She had battled stomach problems leading up to the tournament.