World number one and top seed at the Brisbane International, Victoria Azarenka, pulled out of her semi final match against Serena Williams on Friday with a toe injury. She told the press conference that she had had an ongoing problem with a toe on her right foot which had required minor surgery and that she had taken medical advice not to play in order for it to heal properly before the Australian Open which starts on January 14. She also said that she was happy to have won two matches in her first tournament of the season. Serena stated that she was ready for the match and would have loved to play, but wished Azarenka well.
The second semi final match was between the unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lesia Tsurenko of Kazakhstan, the lucky loser from the qualifiers who has had a charmed run through to the semis.
Clearly on a roll and thoroughly enjoying her success so far in this tournament, Tsurenko went on court will all her guns blazing and took the tough first set 6-4 in forty eight minutes. Pavlyuchenkova then got her game together and, with some wonderful stroke play, grabbed the second set 6-1, which seemed to take the wind out of her opponent’s sails, as she crumbled in the third set too, giving Pavlyuchenkova the win with a 6-2 final set.
Pavlyuchenkova’s match against Williams will be her first Premier level final, although she has already won three of her first four finals in lesser tournaments.