NEW YORK — Victoria Azarenka is headed to another U.S. Open showdown against Serena Williams with a shot at the final on the line.
Azarenka beat 16th-seeded Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 at Flushing Meadows and advanced to the semifinals to play the six-time U.S Open champion.
Williams needed three sets to knock off Azarenka in the 2013 final. Williams also won the 2012 final in three sets in a match that saw Azarenka ahead 5-3 in the third set and serving for the match.
Williams trailed by a set and a break against Tsvetana Pironkova before coming back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Wednesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Azarenka, one of nine mothers in this year’s field, won the Open-tuneup Western & Southern Open for her 21st career title. She made her first U.S. Open semifinal since 2013 and eighth overall.
Azarenka used a big serve to beat Mertens and she’ll need it again to have a shot against Williams. Williams has an 18-4 career edge against Azarenka.
Azarenka has two major championships to Williams’ 23.