US Open Women’s Final Predictions: Naomi Osaka vs Victoria Azarenka

Naomi Osaka in action at the US Open

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We have arrived at the final two battling for the US Open crown. Will Victoria Azarenka lift her first Major trophy since the 2013 Australian Open? Or will Naomi Osaka make it two out of the last three US Opens, and three of the last seven Majors overall? We’re set up for a blockbuster final, and our writers are here to share their thoughts on the match. Predicting this match are Jack Rossiter Munley, Damian Kust, Steen Kirby, Harsh Bhoot, Jim Smith and myself (Yesh Ginsburg).

US Open Women’s Final Predictions

Naomi Osaka vs Victoria Azarenka

Jack:
Osaka and Azarenka were supposed to meet in the final of the Western & Southern Open. Both have had to battle past in form players on their way to the US Open final. Osaka has the edge going into the match–-the combination of power and movement she displayed against Jennifer Brady in the semis was mesmerizing. Azarenka was impressive in her comeback against Williams, but Williams’ ankle injury at the start of the third complicates how much that win can represent. Osaka can hit just as hard as Willaims, but can move even more effectively. Provided her hamstring remains healthy, she should have a big enough game to subdue Azarenka.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Damian:
What didn’t happen at the Western & Southern Open, is going to happen just two weeks later in yet another final. When Naomi Osaka pulled out of the “Cincinnati” final with a hamstring injury, we certainly didn’t expect that this matchup would take place in yet another championship match soon, at an even bigger stage. But the only sign of that injury now is the Japanese’s taped leg, and she’s been playing better and better with each match during this fortnight. Her past three performances were absolute masterpieces of mixing huge power with very small numbers of unforced errors. Victoria Azarenka was very nervous in the early stages of her semifinal against Serena Williams, but survived the initial onslaught to grind down the American. What Jennifer Brady failed to exploit was Osaka’s second serve, on which she tried to hit big but missed way too often. Azarenka’s return is one of the best in the business. If she can consistently get into her opponents’ service games, she’ll have a decent chance to remain undefeated in the bubble.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3

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Steen:
Victoria Azarenka pulled off a massive comeback win against a possibly hobbled Serena Williams in the semifinals, but facing Osaka in her current form is still an extremely challenging prospect. Osaka has been on fire in New York over the past couple of seasons. Both players are riding long winning streaks, dating back to the Western & Southern Open. Azarenka has the experience, but Osaka has a higher ceiling and I’ll go with her in this tight matchup.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Harsh:
A repeat of the “Cincinnati” final, and hopefully this time with both players injury free, we’ll get a fitting final to the US Open 2020. Naomi Osaka looked the likely finalist when the draw was set, but Victoria Azarenka certainly continued her fine Cincinnati Open form–slightly surprising everyone. Her win over Serena should propel the final to a more even ground. That being said, Osaka is a powerful hitter and she’s one of the few players on tour that can hit through anyone. Expect a long match with numerous momentum shifts, with Osaka just clinching it by serving her way out of tough moments.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

Jim:
This should be some match if Osaka and Azarenka’s semifinal victories are anything to go by. The Belarusian, after so long away from the top of the game, finally looks to have recovered her form and has been playing some inspired tennis so far in New York. But she will need to do so again up against the power and accuracy of Osaka. The Japanese, at her best, can take the racquet out of opponents hands. If she can find that level in the final, expect her to prove just about too strong for Azarenka.

Prediction: Osaka in 3

 

Yesh:
I would be very tempted to pick Azarenka here based on her previous few rounds. Unfortunately, her very tentative and slow start to her semifinal match against Serena Williams makes me think that nerves are a real potential issue. Williams let Azarenka back into the match–barely. The all-time great certainly didn’t do it on purpose, but it’s clear that her level is not quite where Osaka is now. If Azarenka struggles like that early in this match, she won’t get back in. Then again, even if the Belorussian is lightning sharp from the beginning, Osaka is tough to beat. The Japanese is one of the best in the world, and she’s playing with incredible confidence right now. Azarenka definitely can win if she plays her best the whole match. But if I’m guessing how likely that is right now? I can’t say it with confidence.
Prediction: Osaka in 2

Main Photo from Getty.


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