WILSON WOMEN WAGE FIERCE BATTLE AT 2012 US OPEN SINGLES FINAL

CHICAGO (September 9, 2012) – Wilson Racquet Sports (www.wilson.com), the official ball and stringer of the US Open, was omni-present at the women’s singles’ final with WTA no. 4 Serena Williams playing fellow Wilson player and world no. 1, Victoria Azarenka. Williams, fresh from her Olympic gold medal and playing with her Wilson Blade Team, continued her momentum with a hard fought win over Azarenka, playing with her Wilson Juice 100. Winning her 15th career Grand Slam and fourth US Open title, Williams defeated Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Williams, who lost only 19 games in six matches leading into the final, took the first set with a dominating serve and precise groundstrokes. Azarenka broke Williams’ serve twice in the second set to level the score to one set apiece. The 23-year old Belarusian came out strong in the third, breaking Williams’ serve to lead 2-1 before Williams reversed the lead by breaking right back. Williams’ win here caps off a steady string of wins, sweeping Wimbledon and the Olympics.

“It’s incredible to win in front of a home crowd,” said Williams. “I felt their energy the entire match and thank all my fans for their support. Vika didn’t make it easy for me — she played a tough match, but I was able to hold on and achieve what I came here to do.”

This is Williams’ 45th WTA career title and tenth victory over Azarenka in their last 11 meetings, all played with Wilson rackets. Williams has won more major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles than any other active player, male or female and is the second woman ever to win a Golden Slam.

“Serena showed incredible focus and we couldn’t be more proud,” said Renaud Vallon, global tour director of Wilson Racquet Sports. “She is incredibly passionate and shows the next generation what it takes to win.”

The Wilson Blade Team flex and pinpoint accuracy make it the racket of choice among top professionals, including Serena and her sister Venus. The larger head size provides more punch, while the lighter weight gives players greater maneuverability for hitting big shots with increased control. The Wilson Juice 100 features Amplifeel™, Wilson’s proprietary handle system, designed to increase power and spin for hard-hitting players.

Wilson won the US Open mixed doubles final with Bruno Soares and Ekaterina Makarova defeating Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 6-7(8), 6-1,12-10 in a tiebreak. Soares played with his Wilson Six.One 95 and Ekaterina played with her Wilson Tour BLX. Wilson also swept in juniors with Filip Peliwo (Wilson Blade 98) and Samantha Crawford (Wilson Tour BLX) winning the boys and girls finals respectively, and Kyle Edmund (Six.One 95) and Gabby Andrews (Wilson Juice 100) securing victories in the boys and girls doubles finals.

Wilson owns more Grand Slam titles than any other racket brand.

About Wilson: Wilson Racquet Sports is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment and owned by Amer Sports. Wilson designs, manufactures and distributes sporting goods throughout the world and focuses on making technologically advanced products which help players of all levels perform better. For more information, visit www.wilson.com.

Azarenka Comes Out At The Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – She dances, she sings, and heck she can hit the ball too.

This is a different Victoria Azarenka we are used to seeing. In the past, she could be testy, yelling at the umpires, linespersons and even ballboys and ball girls.

But now, she is having fun.

All thanks to a sitdown with her grandmother Nina.

“I guess it’s just the mentality change, you know, the approach change,” Azarenka said. “I just know how to prepare myself to be in that state of mind.  It’s never always the same.  Sometimes to come up with that fire it takes a little bit more energy out of me or, you know, a little bit of adaptation, something that I have to bring myself.

“But, yeah, the approach is there.  I enjoy playing on the court.  It’s always there.”

Quietly, we have started to see it the last two weeks. Even though she’s the No. 1 seed, the 23 year-old has been overshadowed by the more household names on the tour.

But after her thrilling 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Maria Sharapova in the Semifinals, everyone is starting to know her now.

And she is having the time of her life.

“It’s sometimes it’s not as fun,” she said with a laugh.  “Especially in that first set today it wasn’t that fun. But I try to enjoy my moment.  I feel like I don’t want it to end.  I’m living this great run, you know, this great opportunities that coming at me, that I just want to continue and enjoy that ride.

“When I’m on the court, I feel like I’m in paradise.  I’m in that most comfortable place I can be.  Why not enjoy it?”

The Belarusian has made a name for herself this year. In the semifinals once in a Grand Slam before 2012, she is now on the cusp to win her second major of the year after winning the Australian earlier this season.

But now, she is facing maybe her toughest competition: Serena Williams.

“Well, first of all, if you look at our record it says it all,” Azarenka, who is 1-9 careerwise against Serena, said. “I mean, I haven’t won in any last meetings, so I definitely need to find something to surprise her tomorrow, because she’s in a great form, you know, feeling really confident right now.

“She has everything on her side.”

And that includes the crowd, who will support the American every day of the week. Azarenka, though isn’t going to be wearing Bobby Bonilla style earplug to drown out the noise.

“I will not really use ear plugs, but I definitely I would be surprised if it would be the other way, so I kind of know that already,” she said. “It’s not the first time for me to kind of face that.  It’s definitely gonna be the first time being in the US Open, but, you know, there is a lot of things that been for the first time for me in this year.  I just need to adjust and try to be, you know, who I am on the court.”

But to win the championship or even make it a game, what does she have to do?

“Well, I have to, you know, try to return well, definitely,” she said smiling.  “And serve.  Because, well, with Serena it’s not really the long rallies.  It’s all about, you know, who grabs the first opportunity, who is more brave to, you know, step it up right from the beginning.”

And if she does it, she will have a puncher’s chance against Serena. But whatever happens, the No. 1 seed will have fun with it.

At least that’s what her grandmother told her to do.