Sloane Stephens beats Victoria Azarenka again to reach Miami Open final
Sloane Stephens v Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-2 6-1

Sloane Stephens beats Victoria Azarenka again to reach Miami Open final

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens again ended former world number one Victoria Azarenka's hopes of a fairytale comeback by beating her 3-6 6-2 6-1 on Thursday to reach the Miami Open final.

Three-times champion Azarenka, playing as a wildcard in her second event after an eight-month absence because of a custody dispute involving her son, showed glimpses of the form that took her to the top of the rankings but ultimately ran out of gas against her 13th-seeded opponent.

Stephens, who also beat Azarenka in the second round at Indian Wells this month, took control of the match early in the second set and never looked back as she raced through the decider with ease.

"I just knew I had to keep fighting. In the first set I was down but I battled back so I knew if I did that in the second, I'd be right in there," the 25-year-old American said in an on-court interview.

"I ended up winning a lot of games in a row and I just tried to keep the momentum going."

Stephens will face either French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, the sixth seed, or American qualifier Danielle Collins in Saturday's final at Crandon Park.

Azarenka's initial comeback after the birth of her child in December, 2016 was short-lived as she played two tournaments before a custody battle with her son's father prevented her from travelling with her child.

The Belarusian may have played little competitive tennis in recent years but she enjoyed a respectable run in Miami, including victory over Czech world number six Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

Related news

Novak Djokovic beats Del Potro to claim 14th Grand Slam title at US Open

Novak Djokovic beats Del Potro to claim 14th Grand Slam title at US Open

Novak Djokovic claimed his second Grand Slam in succession and 14th in his illustrious career with a 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory over Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open.

Serena Williams furious after huge umpire controversy as Naomi Osaka wins US Open

Serena Williams furious after huge umpire controversy as Naomi Osaka wins US Open

Serena Williams was left furious and in tears after a huge controversy involving a coaching violation as Naomi Osaka won the US Open final 6-2 6-4.

US Open Final Live Stream: How to Watch the final of the last Grand Slam of the year

US Open Final Live Stream: How to Watch the final of the last Grand Slam of the year

The final Grand Slam of the year takes centre stage from the 27th as the US Open begins in New York and bet365 will be Live Streaming the action to selected countries across the world.

Imperious Novak Djokovic cruises past Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final

Imperious Novak Djokovic cruises past Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final

Novak Djokovic breezed past Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2 to secure his place in the final of the US Open with consummate ease.

Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final

Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final

A distraught Rafael Nadal was forced to retire through injury after trailing 7-6 6-2 as Juan Martin Del Potro progressed through to the US Open final where he will face Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams smashes through Anastasija Sevastova to make US Open final

Serena Williams smashes through Anastasija Sevastova to make US Open final

Serena Williams swept past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0 on Thursday and into the final of the U.S. Open to sit one win away from a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title to continue her remarkable return to the top levels of the game.

Naomi Osaka storms past Keys to reach first Grand Slam final

Naomi Osaka storms past Keys to reach first Grand Slam final

Naomi Osaka announced her arrival on the big stage at the U.S. Open on Thursday, beating last year's runner-up Madison Keys 6-2 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final and set up a clash with her childhood idol Serena Williams.

Novak Djokovic beats heat and John Millman to reach semi-finals

Novak Djokovic beats heat and John Millman to reach semi-finals

Novak Djokovic sweated it out from behind the baseline to beat Australian John Millman 6-3 6-4 6-4 at the U.S. Open and set up a semi-final with Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Madison Keys into second successive US Open semi after win over Suarez Navarro

Madison Keys into second successive US Open semi after win over Suarez Navarro

American Madison Keys clinched her second consecutive U.S. Open semi-final berth on Wednesday, using her powerful serve to get an edge on 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro and win 6-4 6-3.

RELATED NEWS

Novak Djokovic beats Del Potro to claim 14th Grand Slam title at US Open
Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3 7-6 6-3

Novak Djokovic beats Del Potro to claim 14th Grand Slam title at US Open

Novak Djokovic claimed his second Grand Slam in succession and 14th in his illustrious career with a 6-3 7-6 6-3 victory over Juan Martin Del Potro at the US Open.

Serena Williams furious after huge umpire controversy as Naomi Osaka wins US Open
Naomi Osaka v Serena Williams 6-2 6-4

Serena Williams furious after huge umpire controversy as Naomi Osaka wins US Open

Serena Williams was left furious and in tears after a huge controversy involving a coaching violation as Naomi Osaka won the US Open final 6-2 6-4.

US Open Final Live Stream: How to Watch the final of the last Grand Slam of the year
US Open Final live stream

US Open Final Live Stream: How to Watch the final of the last Grand Slam of the year

The final Grand Slam of the year takes centre stage from the 27th as the US Open begins in New York and bet365 will be Live Streaming the action to selected countries across the world.

Imperious Novak Djokovic cruises past Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final
Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2

Imperious Novak Djokovic cruises past Kei Nishikori to reach US Open final

Novak Djokovic breezed past Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2 to secure his place in the final of the US Open with consummate ease.

Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final
Juan Martin Del Potro v Rafael Nadal 7-6 6-2 R

Rafael Nadal forced to retire injured as Juan Martin Del Potro reaches US Open final

A distraught Rafael Nadal was forced to retire through injury after trailing 7-6 6-2 as Juan Martin Del Potro progressed through to the US Open final where he will face Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams smashes through Anastasija Sevastova to make US Open final
Serena Williams v Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0

Serena Williams smashes through Anastasija Sevastova to make US Open final

Serena Williams swept past Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0 on Thursday and into the final of the U.S. Open to sit one win away from a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title to continue her remarkable return to the top levels of the game.

Naomi Osaka storms past Keys to reach first Grand Slam final
Naomi Osaka v Madison Keys 6-2 6-4

Naomi Osaka storms past Keys to reach first Grand Slam final

Naomi Osaka announced her arrival on the big stage at the U.S. Open on Thursday, beating last year's runner-up Madison Keys 6-2 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final and set up a clash with her childhood idol Serena Williams.

Novak Djokovic beats heat and John Millman to reach semi-finals
Novak Djokovic v John Millman 6-3 6-4 6-4

Novak Djokovic beats heat and John Millman to reach semi-finals

Novak Djokovic sweated it out from behind the baseline to beat Australian John Millman 6-3 6-4 6-4 at the U.S. Open and set up a semi-final with Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Madison Keys into second successive US Open semi after win over Suarez Navarro
Madison Keys v Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-3

Madison Keys into second successive US Open semi after win over Suarez Navarro

American Madison Keys clinched her second consecutive U.S. Open semi-final berth on Wednesday, using her powerful serve to get an edge on 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro and win 6-4 6-3.