2020 US Open women’s final info, recent form, betting and preview: Naomi Osaka v Victoria Azarenka

US Open
Victoria Azarenka v Naomi Osaka US Open final

Both are former world No 1s and two-time Grand Slam singles champions, but will Naomi Osaka or Victoria Azarenka hold aloft a third major trophy after Saturday’s US Open women’s final?

Naomi Osaka
Age: 22
World ranking: 9
Career-high ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 2
Grand Slam titles: 2

Victoria Azarenka
Age: 31
World ranking: 27
Career-high ranking: 1
Career singles titles: 2
Grand Slam titles: 4

Recent form

Both head into the US Open showpiece match in excellent form as they warmed up for the tournament with a run to the final of the Western & Southern Open with Azarenka winning the title after Osaka withdrew due to injury.

Azarenka also played in the Top Seed Open, but fell at the first hurdle while her only other competitive match in 2020 was a first-round exit in Monterrey.

Osaka, meanwhile, only played in the Cincinnati warm-up event while her last match before the hiatus was a loss in the Fed Cup play-offs in February.

As for their journey through the US Open, three of Osaka’s six matches were three setters. Her 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-3 win over Jennifer Brady in the semi-final was probably the best of the lot.

Azarenka on the other hand had a trickier run as she had to beat fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka in the second round while she was taken the distance by 20th seed Karolina Muchova in the third round.

She then dispatched 16th seed Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-0 in the quarter-final before producing a remarkable comeback to defeat Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Head-to-head

The US Open final will be their fifth meeting, but their most recent match was meant to be the Western & Southern Open final at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka leads the head-to-head 2-1 as she won in three sets at last year’s French Open and also claimed a two-set win at the 2018 Italian Open. Azarenka, though, won their first-ever meeting at the 2016 Australian Open.

What they’ve said

Naomi Osaka on Azarenka: “I mean, for me, I’ve played her once in Roland Garros. I played her twice, but the Roland Garros one is the most recent one that I remember.

“Yeah, she seems really confident now. She’s moving well. I don’t know. I don’t try to think about, you know, other matches right after the match that I just finished. But should be tough if I do play her.”

Victoria Azarenka on Osaka: “Very excited about that. I’m as excited as I was last week. I’m sure this time we’re going to get to play and it’s going to be a great match. I think it’s going to be an amazing final. I hope it will be. I’ll have fun.

“But she’s a very, very powerful player. She’s a great champion. She’s won two already. Aren’t we both looking for a third one? It will be fun (smiling).”

Betting

Osaka is the favourite with the bookmakers and the best odds you can get is 6/10. Azarenka is generally 6/4 to claim a third Grand Slam title.

If you feel the match will go to the distance, then Bet365 has Osaka 3/1 to win in three and Azarenka 9/2.

What about first-set score? A 7-5 scoreline will earn you good money either way as Osaka is 11/1 to take the opener 7-5 and Azarenka 14/1.

Conclusion

Will youth triumph experience once again? In recent Grand Slam final match-ups the young guns came out swinging and overpowered their more experienced opponents.

Think Sofia Kenin against Garbine Muguruza at the 2020 Australian Open final, Bianca Andreescu against Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open final and Osaka against Williams at the 2018 US Open final.

Osaka has the youth and was in impressive form during her win against Brady, but Azarenka has been around the block a couple of times. She doesn’t have that raw power, but is a crafty player.

You just feel that Osaka is getting her act together again after going through a slump following her 2019 Australian Open success. It’s a more mature Osaka these days.

For Azarenka, the fact that she beat Williams in the semi-final after losing the opening set 6-1 will give her a massive confidence boost.

You do wonder though if the Williams victory wasn’t Azarenka’s “final” and the actual final could be a step too far against a younger opponent.

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