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Tennis-‘She’s ready’: Azarenka’s coach confident ahead of U.S. Open final

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters)Victoria Azarenka is in top form and ready to go the distance in her first Grand Slam final in seven years, coach Dorian Descloix said on Friday, a day ahead of her U.S. Open showdown against former champion Naomi Osaka.

“Physically she’s ready, to be honest. She worked a lot the last few months,” he said. “She worked every day on fitness. Even on the court we did a lot of long sessions on the court. Now she’s ready.”

The 31-year-old came back from a one-set deficit to topple 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in their semifinal match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday, returning to the sport’s peak from a long road littered with setbacks.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open winner, stunned a the Western & Southern Open, slaying competitors before winning on a walkthrough after not securing a win of any kind in a year.

To topple world number four Osaka, Descloix said she must “play her game.”

“(She has) to be relaxed on the court, just to mix a lot. She has a big panel of shots,” he said. “She has to remain exactly the same.”

Descloix joined Azarenka in February as a hitting partner, before becoming her coach, as the pair set about mounting her remarkable career comeback.

“To be honest, it’s my first experience as a coach,” he said. “Vika is a great player, so for me it was tough for me at the beginning. We talk a lot. I learn every day with Vika.”

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Sandra Maler)

((Amy.Tennery@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646-223-6343;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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