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|Outside of a lone loss in the 2009 Miami final, Serena has outright owned her opponent in 10 career meetings on a variety of surfaces, including semifinal appearances this year at Wimbledon and the Olympics.||Despite her No. 1 ranking, Azarenka will come in as the underdog. But make no mistake about it: When she’s healthy and focused, the ponytailed powerballer has the groundstrokes to beat anyone. And how can she lose with LMFAO frontman Redfoo in her camp?|
|She can control her emotions. It’s hard not to admire Serena’s competitive fire. It’s much of the reason she’s achieved her hall-of-fame credentials. But her infamous US Open meltdowns of 2009 and 2011 are now painful memories in an otherwise brilliant career for the 30-year-old Williams, who would like nothing more than to turn the page on that troubling portion of her Grand Slam past.||She can clamp down on her opponent’s best-in-the-biz serve. It’s a tough ask, for sure. But Vika consistently ranks at or near the top of the WTA’s return-games-won chart, which bodes well for the Belarusian baseliner. The more she can bring Williams’ first serves back to neutral, the better chance she stands to win.|
|The stingy No. 4 seed has surrendered just 19 games over six rounds without so much as dropping a set, including a double bagel of over-matched Czech Andrea Hlavackova in the round of 16. Think she’s focused? As the single-minded Williams told the press, she’s keeping the extra-curriculars to a minimum and her eyes on the prize: “It's been all business, all go to bed, tennis, hotel, hotel, tennis, tennis, hotel.” Beware, Ms. Azarenka.||Azarenka, appearing in her seventh final of the year, is riding a wave of momentum after a pair of marquee wins. She dethroned muscle-bound defending champ Sam Stosur in a classic quarterfinal 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5), then took out 2006 US Open champion Maria Sharapova in a thrilling three-set semi 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Does she have what it takes to finish that run?|
|How these ferocious foes respond to the elements. The forecast calls for unsettled conditions, which usually means swirling winds inside the gladiatorial confines of Arthur Ashe Stadium. This can create havoc on a ball toss, and many a server has struggled to hit their spots when battling the breeze.||An all-out slugfest between two of the game’s premier ball strikers. Long rallies and ginormous groundies will rule the day.|
|Williams is looking to join an elite quintet of women to have won the US Open four times in the Open Era — hall-of-famers Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. That’s some nice company.||The world No. 1 owns the tour’s best win-loss record on hard courts this year — 32-2. This is her surface of choice.|
|Noise. Like the Azarenka-Sharapova semi, this one will be a cacophonic clash between two of the sport’s most adept shriekers — Victoria with her Whippoorwill-like exclamations, Serena with her gargantuan grunts. Pack the earplugs.||Maturity. It used to be that the Belarusian would fly off the handle at the slightest of setbacks (a disputed line call, an ill-timed double fault, etc.), her heart-on-her-sleeve displays often costing her in big moments. But the 23-year-old has come a long way when it comes to maintaining her composure.|