Azarenka ready for Williams clash

Victoria Azarenka believes her meeting with Serena Williams in the WTA Western & Southern Open final in Cincinnati is the ideal preparation for the upcoming US Open (Williams 2/9 Azarenka 3/1 – match prices).

World number two Azarenka came from a set down to beat Jelena Jankovic 4-6 6-2 6-3 in Saturday’s semi-final – a tops-turvy game that featured 23 breaks of serve over the 27 games.

Williams, meanwhile, was made to work hard in her 7-5 7-5 win over defending champion Li Na.

The American is chasing her ninth title of the year and possesses a formidable record of 60 wins and just three defeats so far this season.

One of those defeats, though, came against Azarenka in Qatar at in February – only the second time the Belarusian has beaten Williams in 14 matches.

Speaking ahead of the game Azarenka insisted she was relishing the challenge of playing against the 16-time Grand Slam singles champion and believes it will set her in good stead ahead of the start of the US Open in New York City on August 26 (Azarenka 4/1 – 2013 US Open outright).

“We never played here, and we haven’t played on hard courts since February,” Azarenka said. “So it will be interesting to see how we’re going to play against each other.

“There’s no better challenge than face the best player in the final before a big event.”

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