• Serena favored but Azarenka threatens

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    Serena Williams AFP PHOTO

    NEW YORK CITY: World No. 1 Serena Williams enters the US Open as a heavy favorite to defend her title, but second-ranked Victoria Azarenka leads a host of rivals looking to dethrone her.

    Williams is seeking her 17th Grand Slam singles crown and fifth US Open title, which would move her one shy of Chris Evert’s Open-era record for most titles at the year’s final major event on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

    “I’m definitely prepared. I’m definitely ready for New York,” Williams said. “I definitely had more matches than I could want, but I’m definitely prepared for the US Open.”

    The 31-year-old American has been on an amazing run over the past 14 months, going 77-4 and capturing last year’s Wimbledon, London Olympic and US Open titles, plus this year’s French Open crown.

    But two of those defeats came at the hands of Azarenka, in February’s Doha final and last Sunday at the WTA final in Cincinnati by a score of 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

    “It’s just always good to play such great players like Victoria who really plays well and makes me lift my game to a new level,” Williams said.

    AFP

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