On Day 12 of the 2012 U.S. Open, women's singles action takes center stage at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, as the final four will meet to determine who will vie for the 2012 U.S. Open Women's Singles Championship. Clear skies and temperatures in the mid-80s are in the forecast throughout the day on Friday, as the first women's match on tap will feature a pair of Olympic medalists as the top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus faces the number three-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova at Ashe Stadium. Sharapova captured her fourth Grand Slam title earlier this year at the French Open, a victory that clinched her career Grand Slam, becoming just the sixth woman in the Open Era (and 10th all-time) to achieve the feat. Azarenka started off 2012 with an impressive 26-0 record, the longest win streak to start a season since Martina Hingis went 37-0 to begin the 1997 season. Along the way, Azarenka captured the 2012 Australian Open title, the first ever of her career and she currently holds the top spot atop the WTA World Rankings. Sharapova and Azarenka have met three times over the course of their career, with Azarenka capturing the 2012 Australian Open title from Sharapova in January, and the two split matches since as Azarenka scored a victory in Indian Wells, Calif. in March, and Sharapova taking a win in April in Stuttgart.
The second women's semifinal match pits the number four seed, American Serena Williams against the 10th-seeded Italian Sara Errani. Since Tuesday, Aug. 28, the second day of the Open, Errani will have played tennis in some form 11 consecutive days at the U.S. Open. Her run to the singles semifinals is matched by her run to the women's doubles finals where on Thursday, Errani teamed with fellow Italian Roberta Vinci to defeat the team of Nuria Llagostera Vives & Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain 6-3, 6-2. If fatigue is setting in for Errani, then she had better watch out as Serena has steamrolled her way to the women's semifinals, losing a total of 16 games. Serena has beaten Errani in all three of their previous meetings, though they haven't met in more than three years, and Errani wasn't ranked in the Top 30 in any of those meetings.
Also on the schedule for Friday, Americans Bob & MIke Bryan seek another title as they face the fifth-seeded Leander Paes of India & Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in the men's doubles finals to kick things off at Ashe Stadium at noon. The Bryans have won three U.S. Open titles (2005, 2008 and 2010) while making the finals in 2003. Mike Bryan won the U.S. Open mixed title in 2002 (with Lisa Raymond) while brother Bob has won it four times in 2003 (with Katarina Srebotnik), 2004 (with Vera Zvonareva), 2006 (with Martina Navratilova) and in 2010 (with Liezel Huber). The team of Paes & Stepanek defeated the Bryans earlier this year at the Australian Open for the title and the teams have split the four matches they've played to date.
The juniors also see action on Friday on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in boys and girls quarterfinals and doubles semis take center stage.
Click here for the full Day 12 schedule for the 2012 U.S. Open.