Azarenka eliminates Martic, plays Begu in Linz semis

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Victoria Azarenka took on the Croatian Petra Martic, ranked 64, in the second quarter final on Friday afternoon. Azarenka had strolled through her first two matches 6-0 6-2 and 6-1 6-1 while Martic had a straight sets win in the first round but battled to get the win in three sets in the second round. These two players had never met in the past and Martic started off nervously, dropping her serve twice for Azarenka to go up 4-0 before she held for 1-4. The next game went to four deuces before Azarenka held, then Martic held again before the Belarusian served out the first set 6-2. The second set was much closer and certainly the first time Azarenka has been pushed in this tournament, as Martic has a great kick serve and forehand. As in the first set, she broke Martic in the first game, but the Croatian broke right back and went on to hold for 2-1 – the first time she was ahead in the match. Azarenka then held to level, broke to love and held for 4-2. Although Martic was playing her best tennis, Azarenka broke again in the seventh game which went to three deuces, then went on to serve out the set 6-2.

Irina-Camelia Begu and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were the last pair on court to battle for a place in the semi finals. Begu, ranked at 57 is a lucky loser in this tournament, while Mattek-Sands (who had a career high ranking of 30) but is now ranked 201 after some serious injuries, qualified. Although Begu took out Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of the US Open this year, Mattek-Sands was considered the favourite to go through. She was broken in the first game and Begu went on to hold her serve to go 2-0 before Mattek-Sands did the same. In the 6th game Begu again broke to lead 5-2 but could not serve out the set, as Mattek-Sands broke on her 4th break point for 4-5, but Begu served for the set, 6-4. The second set saw a revived Mattek-Sands race to a 3-0 lead before Begu held for 1-3, but in the 5th game the roof sprung a leak and there was a rain stoppage before Mattek-Sands went on to hold, break and serve out the set. The third set went with serve to 2-2 after which Mattek-Sands ran out of steam and Begu took the next four games to take the set 6-2.

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