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Azarenka through to the semis

Victoria Azarenka admirably retaliated after being down 4-1 in the first set, exhibiting some of her best tennis for the tournament, to overcome a resilient Kuznetsova in straight sets 7-5 6-1, securing a deserving place in the semi-finals.

Azarenka serves. Credit: timmothyy17/Instagram

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, the unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova entered the Rod Laver Arena with an unrelenting fire, pushing the World No. 1 to her limits.

Changing the pace of the ball and forcing the world No. 1 to scramble towards the net for low balls away from her comfort zone at the baseline, Kuznetsova was able to disrupt Azarenka’s rhythm to break to a 3-1 lead.

The 27-year-old Russian generated some unbelievable angled shots which fell consistently upon the sidelines and her accurate hitting led her to hold 4-1.

Heightening the offensive, Azarenka began to find her usual rhythm and dictate play from the baseline to commendably break back 3-4.

Azarenka appeared to be attacking Kuznetsova’s backhand and despite a tough fight being imposed by her Russian opponent, the world No. 1 finally levelled the score to 5-5

A far more aggressive Azarenka established three set points at 6-5 and despite an agile Kuznetsova protecting two, it seemed to be third time lucky for the Belrusian as she upheld her offensive demeanour to clinch the first set as her own at 7-5.

Azarenka followed this level of aggression through to the second set, breaking Kuznetsova’s opening service game.

While Kuznetsova immediately broke back, this largely resulted from a series ill-timed mishits from Azarenka.

As though almost empowered by this retaliation, the world No. 1 ensured another break was snatched from her Russian opponent and held to consolidate the early ascendancy 3-1.

Azarenka continued to pressure Kuznetsova’s service games to deuce as the unseeded Russian failed to deliver the variety in her game that would be necessary in increasing her chances of turning the set around in her favour.

This enabled Azarenka to dominate the points with powerful drives which forced more errors off Kuznetsova’s racquet to secure the match in a convincing fashion 7-5 6-1.

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