Second set: *Osaka 1-6, 2-3 Azarenka
Azarenka delivers her most imperious hold yet, cracking a pair of aces and an 82mph second-serve service winner.
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 2-2 Azarenka*
Osaka holds from love-15, pounding a pair of 109mph aces along the way to consolidate the break for 2-all. Osaka has been serving an average of 12mph faster than Azarenka on the day, but she’s got only 70% of her first serves in (compared to 90% for Vika).
Osaka breaks in third game of second set!
Second set: *Osaka 1-6, 1-2 Azarenka
Osaka pushes back to 40-30 on the serve of Azarenka, who’s hit three winners in the game already. But Osaka gets it to deuce with a forehand winner, then rips a forehand that Azarenka can’t handle for her first break point of the match. And she converts it with an assist from Azarenka’s fourth unforced error of this set – after making only three in the entire opener.
Azarenka breaks in second game of second set!
Second set: Osaka 1-6, 0-2 Azarenka*
Osaka’s bad day at the office takes a turn for the worse as she falls behind love-15 then 15-40 on her serve, handing Azarenka two points for a break for 2-love. Osaka saves the first with her first ace of the afternoon, 93mph down the middle. But Azarenka converts with a backhand winner on the following point and she’s out in front in the second set.
Azarenka wins first set, 6-1!
Azarenka breaks in seventh game of first set!
First set: Osaka 1-6 Azarenka
Osaka chips in unforced error No 13 on her serve and suddenly Azarenka is three points from the set. Osaka responds with a backhand winner and a 93mph service winner, only for Azarenka to push it to deuce. From there Azarenka closes out the set, breaking Osaka for the third time in 26 minutes with a backhand winner.
First set: *Osaka 1-5 Azarenka
Osaka continues to fritter the opener away, mixing in her 10th and 11th unforced errors as Azarenka races out to 40-15. Osaka pushes it to deuce with an Azarenka error followed by a forehand volley winner to settle a 10-shot rally. But Azarenka holds easily from there to consolidate the break and Osaka will serve to stay in the first set.
Azarenka breaks in fifth game of first set!
First set: Osaka 1-4 Azarenka*
Azarenka pushes it to 30-all on Osaka’s serve after Osaka’s eighth unforced error (against two winners). Then Osaka mixes in her second double fault of the day for break point … and Azarenka converts it when Osaka pushes a forehand long early in a baseline rally. Vika goes up a double break after only 17 minutes. Osaka’s serve far beneath the standard we’ve become accustomed to seeing in this tournament (or either of her previous two grand slam finals).
First set: *Osaka 1-3 Azarenka
Azarenka stays out in front after breezing to another easy hold. She’s won eight of the nine points on her serve.
First set: Osaka 1-2 Azarenka*
Osaka makes her sixth unforced error of the afternoon on a baseline forehand for 15-all, but rattles off the next three points on her serve to close out the straightforward hold and get on the board.
First set: *Osaka 0-2 Azarenka
Azarenka backs up the break comfortably with a love hold. A promising start to her first major final in seven years.
Azarenka breaks in first game of first set!
First set: Osaka 0-1 Azarenka*
A scratchy service game to start for Osaka, who opens with an unforced error off her forehand at the end of a 12-stroke baseline rally. She hits a baseline winner on the next point only quickly go down 15-40, hands Azarenka a pair of early break-point chances. She saves the first of them, but gifts Azarenka the break with another forehand misfire on the second.
The players are finishing their warm-ups and we should be under way momentarily. Osaka came on court wearing a facemask with the name of Tamir Rice, the 12-year old black boy who was shot by Cleveland police in 2014, as part of her fortnight-long tribute.
Tale of the tape
Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for today’s US Open women’s singles final between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka. The two hottest players on the WTA tour since the sport resumed after a five-month hiatus – both former world No 1s, both two-time grand slam champions – are minutes away from taking the court with each in search of a third career major title.
Here’s a look at how today’s finalists compare. Osaka holds a 2-1 lead in the all-time head-to-head, winning their most recent meeting at last year’s French Open. They were due to meet a fourth time in the final of last week’s Western & Southern Open, but Osaka withdrew because of an injured left hamstring.