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Azarenka relishing rivalry with Serena

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Originally published on: 23/09/13 00:00

The Belarusian was once again thwarted by Williams at the US Open as she lost in a repeat of last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, but claims she had put her 7-5 6-7(6) 6-1 defeat behind her within 24 hours.

"I was over it the next day,” she said. "I have a 24-hour rule, win or lose. You have to get up and keep going."

The world No.2 points to two victories over the American, in Doha and Cincinnati, as proof that she can threaten 17-time Grand Slam champion Williams’ stranglehold on the No.1 ranking.

"Serena is playing the best tennis of her life and so am I," Azarenka told AFP. "It's been really noticeable the gap from last year we have in the matches has minimised. I've beaten her twice this year. No one else has done that.

"It's just exciting to be in the era of somebody and competing with somebody who is considered the best ever and being their toughest opponent.

"Serena is the best ever to me. I cannot judge somebody who I never played before but for me overall the game of tennis has elevated and the evolution of the game raised up so much that it's hard to compare.

"It's like comparing Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather. How can you compare two eras? They're both the greatest in the world but who was the better boxer?"

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