Elise Mertens had impressed Sofia Kenin in the previous round, but she could not take that level to the quarter-finals. From the start, her serve, even though the entire tournament was excellent, was not.
And that immediately got her into trouble against Azarenka. The Belarusian served well, returned aggressively and imposed a stifling pace on Mertens.
Our compatriot was able to make a good point now and then, but the match was nevertheless a big letdown. Mertens couldn’t get a foothold no matter what she tried, and Azarenka almost played the perfect game.
Mertens saved 3 match points, with very good tennis, but Azarenka did not let go of her prey: 6-1 and 6-0 after 1 hour and 13 minutes. Just like last year, the quarter-finals are the final destination for Mertens.
Victoria Azarenka is in the semifinals of a grand slam tournament for the first time since 2013. In 2012 and 2013 she lost the final in New York, each time to Serena Williams in 3 sets. Her opponent in the semifinals is Serena Williams.
Azarenka reacted laconically when asked what she thought of her performance. “I don’t know, that was pretty good. I did my plan perfectly, thanks to my variation I was able to unbalance her. I moved well and there was a lot of pressure on her to make a winner.”