Williams, who is bidding for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, struggled to match the intensity of Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion, who was playing her first Grand Slam semi-final since 2013.
The 38-year-old had an Achilles problem in the third set that needed treatment, but she continued to struggle and ultimately succumbed to defeat.
Williams has lost in the finals of four of the past seven Grand Slams, including at the US Open in the past two years, as she continues to seek the elusive title.
The six-time US Open champion expressed her disappointment at the loss but said she gave it her all.
I mean, it’s obviously disappointing. At the same time, you know, I did what I could today. I feel like other times I’ve been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot.
The mother-of-one also added that the injury was not to blame for the loss, stressing;
I don’t think that had anything to do with it [the defeat]. Ultimately, it didn’t affect my play at all.
Azarenka, a Belarusian, had been in fantastic form coming into the competition. The 31-year-old won the Western & Southern Open in August, and is on an 11-game winning streak.
Speaking about her seven-year wait to return to a Grand Slam singles final, Azarenka stated;
That’s my favorite number so I guess that’s meant to be.
I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I’m so grateful to be able to play such a champion in the semi-finals.
She will face Naomi Osaka, the Japanese star, who previously won the US Open in 2018, tomorrow, Saturday.