Serena Williams reaches Brisbane semis, Tsurenko also wins

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After the demise of so many of the seeds early on in the Brisbane International tournament, it must be heartening for the organisers to see the number one seed Victoria Azarenka, and the number three seed Serena Williams both still in the draw. These two players, whose seeding reflects their ranking on the WTA list, will meet in the semi finals after Williams disposed of her countrywoman Sloane Stephens, in the quarter finals in this eastern Australian tournament.

In her first match of the new season, Williams easily disposed of another American Varvara Lepchenko in the first round and the Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, just as easily in the second round before taking on Stephens, who put up a little more of a fight before going down 6-4 6-3.

Lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko, who lost in the final round of qualifying, has made the most of her good fortune as she had a bye in the first round when she stepped in to replace Maria Sharapova, who pulled out with a collar bone injury.

In her first match of the tournament she came up against the Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova, and had a real battle to oust her from the tournament with a 1-6 6-1 6-4 win before taking on the very experienced Daniela Hantuchova in the quarters. Tsurenko turned the form book on its head by taking this match in straight sets, 6-3 6-4. She will next meet Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semi final in the bottom half of the draw.

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