Top seed Victoria Azarenka stormed into the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in her career on Sunday, comfortably dispatching surprise package Anna Tatishvili in the fourth round with a straight sets 6-2 6-2 victory.
The Australian Open champion has been in stunning from so far in the tournament, losing only six games in her first three matches. Although both players hit a total of 24 errors throughout the last-16 contest, Azarenka played more consistently and hit a similar number of winners.
Tatishvili, from Georgia, did have her moments. She broke the Belarusian’s serve three times, and produced some zapping shots from the baseline. Ultimately, though, she was unable to maintain accuracy on her groundstrokes, allowing the world number one to build solid leads in both sets.
Azarenka now faces Sam Stosur for a place in the semi-finals. She has yet to lose to the Australian, and will be confident of beating her again in New York. The defending US Open champion tends to struggle with Azarenka’s intensity and relentless hitting from the back of the court, and will have to produce a stellar performance to register her first win against her.
It has been noted that Azarenka is a somewhat low-key top seed at the tournament, with a modest profile compared to superstars such as Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. She is a fierce competitor, however, and would like nothing more than to win her second grand slam of the season.
Azarenka routinely faces questions about her grunting/shrieking, so much so that she now has stock responses. “I prefer to let my racket do the talking,” she said after her win over Tatishvili. Her racket will be loud and clear should she be the one hoisting the trophy on Saturday night.