Victoria Azarenka came from behind to stun Serena Williams in a three-set thriller and reach the US Open final on Thursday.

The unseeded Belarusian fought back to overcome Williams, seeded third, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in 1hr 56min under the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Serena Williams Photo: AFP

Azarenka will now play Naomi Osaka of Japan in Saturday’s final.

It will be the former world number one’s first appearance in the final of a tennis major since Williams beat her in the final of the US Open in 2013.

“That’s my favorite number so I guess that’s meant to be,” Azarenka said of her seven-year wait to return to a Grand Slam singles final.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity. I’m so grateful to be able to play such a champion in the semi-finals,” she added.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus Photo: AFP

Two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka had never beaten Williams before in a Grand Slam and she seemed to be heading for another agonizing loss after being hammered 6-1 in the first set.

But the 31-year-old turned the tide in set two, upping her service game and drastically reducing her unforced errors as she began to dictate lengthy rallies.

“I knew it’s never over until I have another chance,” said Azarenka. The player from Belarus had suffered a heartbreaking loss to Williams in the 2012 US Open, when she served for the match at 5-3 in the third set only to lose 7-5.

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