Both Azarenka and Kerber have brought some of their best tennis to the US Open, with Azarenka reaching the final here twice and Kerber posting her best showing at a Grand Slam when she reached the semifinals in 2012. Unfortunately, their rivalry has been less thrilling up to this point. Azarenka has won all four of their previous career meetings, including a dominant victory earlier this year in Doha, where she lost just three games.
Azarenka will be looking to keep the points short and get on top of the rallies as early as possible. In addition to getting a high percentage of first serves in, she’ll need to look for opportunities to take balls out of the air with swinging volleys. Her world-class mental strength will also need to be on display, since Kerber is guaranteed to track down balls that would be winners against most players.
But while Azarenka has the superior baseline game, Kerber has a greater level of a stamina, and that could come into play if the match goes three sets. Her tenacity on court has always made her a favorite at the US Open, and having the crowd on her side could also play a factor as the match wears on.
Kerber will need to keep balls largely down the middle of the court in order to avoid being pushed around, while also waiting for opportunities to strike with her forehand. Since Azarenka will hit more winners during the match, Kerber will also need to keep her unforced error count extremely low in order to avoid a quick night on the court.