It may not been how she wanted, but Victoria Azarenka won the Western & Southern Open for the second time in her career. Her opponent, Naomi Osaka, withdrew from the tournament 90 minutes before the final with a hamstring injury.
The former world No. 1 also won Cincinnati in 2013 and this marks the 21st title of her career. Azarenka had not won a tournament since Miami in 2016 and so this is also her first trophy as a mother.
The world No. 59 took down two seeded players along the way to her title, Johanna Konta and Donna Vekic, and was really looking forward to testing her level against Osaka.
"I think it's unfortunate because I was actually really looking forward to compete against Naomi," Azarenka said in press. "It would have been an amazing opportunity to face her level, and she's been playing really great. And playing the final is always really special, so, you know, I just take it the way it is. I can't change anything. I just have to accept what it is."
The Belarusian only lost one set during the tournament. Next week, Azarenka will take on Barbara Haas in the first round of the US Open.
"Obviously it's a good feeling going into the tournament knowing that you've been playing well," Azarenka said. "We all know two weeks are long. Three weeks to hold the form is also long. So I need to kind of stay a little bit grounded and focus on what to do."