ORDER OF PLAY
ARTHUR ASHE STADIUM — 7:00 p.m. start
 Jennifer BRADY (USA) vs.  Naomi OSAKA (JPN)
 Serena WILLIAMS (USA) vs. Victoria AZARENKA (BLR)
In a battle between former World No.1 players and working moms, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka will square off in the second of two US Open semifinal matches on Thursday night. It will be a rematch of the 2012 and 2013 US Open finals, which were won by Williams in three sets on both occasions.
Williams leads the overall head-to-head 18-4, and she is also 10-0 against Azarenka at Grand Slam events. They have faced off once since they both have returned from maternity leave, with Williams defeating Azarenka in straight sets at Indian Wells in 2019.
Williams is making her 20th appearance at the US Open. She is a six-time champion at the event, tying her with Chris Evert for the most US Open titles in the Open Era (since 1968). Williams also has the most match-wins at the US Open in the Open Era, claiming her 106th with her win over Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals (Evert has the second-most with 101).
The American has won 13 of her 23 Grand Slam titles on hardcourt, which is the most of any player on that surface in the Open Era. Across all WTA events, she has won 47 hardcourt titles, more than any other active player.
After losing her only two matches of the season prior to last month’s Western & Southern Open, Azarenka is currently on a ten-match winning streak, all of which has taken place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She won the Western & Southern Open title just prior to the start of the US Open, at the same site as the Grand Slam event.
Azarenka is now 39-12 at the US Open over her career. 20 of Azarenka’s 21 career WTA singles titles have come on hardcourt, including her two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. This is Azarenka’s first Grand Slam semifinal since her run to the 2013 US Open final.
Osaka and Brady will meet in the first semifinal of the night, having split their two previous encounters. Brady won their first meeting 6-4, 6-4, at the ITF Challenger event in New Braunfels, TX, USA, in 2014. Osaka avenged that loss, also by a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline, in Charleston in 2018.
Playing the US Open main draw for the fifth time, former World No.1 Osaka improved her tournament win-loss record to 19-3 with her quarterfinal victory over Shelby Rogers, which was her first win over the American in their four career meetings. Osaka won her first major title at the US Open two years ago, defeating Serena Williams in the final.
This is the third time Osaka has advanced to a Grand Slam semifinal. The two other times she has made it this deep at a major, at the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, she has gone on to win the title. By claiming those two crowns, she became the first woman to win her second major directly after winning her first since Jennifer Capriati did so at the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2001.
Brady is playing the US Open main draw for the fourth time, with her previous best showing being a fourth-round appearance in 2017. With her semifinal run this fortnight, Brady has smashed her previous career-best results at Grand Slam events, which were the aforementioned 2017 US Open fourth round, as well as a fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open that same season.
Various new milestones have been set in Brady’s career during 2020. In January, she claimed her first-ever Top 10 win (over World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in Brisbane); in February, she reached her first-ever Premier-level semifinal in Dubai; and in August, she won her first WTA singles title at Lexington.
Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post discusses the divergent paths of Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady as they prepare to meet in the semifinals.
At usopen.org, Rick Rennert references Victoria Azarenka’s past juniors success at the event, and takes a look at other players who have parlayed junior excellence in New York into big runs in the professional main draws.