• US Open, Day 12

'Mature' Azarenka feeling strong

ESPN staff
September 7, 2012 « Serena swats away Errani to reach final | Chartbeat test »
Victoria Azarenka had Redfoo in her corner © Getty Images
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Victoria Azarenka battled to a three-set win over Maria Sharapova to reach the US Open final and she was happy with the way she battled through. She said: "To come back it was difficult, Maria is an incredible fighter and played so well in the beginning. I struggled to find any rhythm to hurt her, but I kept my focus and when I had the opportunity I stepped it up and got more aggressive. The momentum then changed and I just stayed on it.

"We work on everything, me and my coach, and I have matured and I have learned a lot about myself and how to handle these experiences. I have had a few unfortunate ones but that sort of thing has made me stronger."

Redfoo of US band LMFAO was in Azarenka's box, much to her delight. She said: "It was amazing as the match before he could not sit in my box. But he texted me to say he would be there. He was amazing support, I could hear him all the time and I just thank him for the support."

Maria Sharapova had her chances but found Azarenka too strong. She said: "it's frustrating, but it's the game of tennis. A lot of swings in the match today. I certainly had the lead and the advantage but she picked up her game. In the third I think a lot of it had to do with the returns. I didn't do much on her service games and she was winning them pretty easy. On mine they were quite long and just making too many errors not putting any pressure on her. So that's, I think, the most frustrating part.

"Certainly in the last few years, especially after my injury, I have been a lot better about accepting wins and accepting losses. I try to think that if you're level‑headed about difficult defeats and then if you get something in your career that's incredible, but if you take it as ‑‑ in a calm way, then the defeats don't seem as difficult. losses, of course, they're difficult and the world knows you lose. That's sport. At the end of the day, that's what makes me better. It motivates me to go back on the court and to practice."

Mike and Bob Bryan won the men's doubles to clinch their 12th grand slam title, which takes them past Tood Woodbridge and Mark Woodford. Mike Bryan said: "It's not going to sink in for a long time. We idolized the Woodies growing up and they were an inspiration to us. But we're just having fun out there and it's been showing in our results.

"We want to play until Rio. Hopefully we can snag a couple a year, one or two. We got one this year."

Bob Bryan said: "Our short‑term goal is still win that Davis Cup match (with Spain), because that's going to be pivotal to that tie. I don't think our team has a great chance if we don't win that doubles match. We want to do our job there and then just try to pile on some more points and finish the year No. 1. It would be our eighth No. 1 finish. Then Mike's going to get married. See how that goes."

Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek were well beaten in the doubles and were quick to praise the Bryans. Stepanek said: "I think they started really well. They were all over our serve from the beginning and making life very difficult for us out there. They were the better team today, so they deserve the win."

Paes added: "Even though we got beaten today by one of the greatest teams of all time, my team and Radek's team came out and brought everything they had to this tournament. I can guarantee you we will be giving it everything we have every single day for the rest of the year."

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