Azarenka defeats Kuznetsova to reach Australian Open semis

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In the first match on Rod Laver Arena on Day 10 of the Australian Open on Wednesday, world number one Vika Azarenka took on Sveta Kuznetsova, former world number 2 and twice a Grand Slam champion who is now ranked 75 after not playing the entire second half of the 2012 season because of an injury. Kuznetsova won two tough three setters on her way to the quarters – including against Caroline Wozniacki in the previous round – and many gave her a chance against Azarenka, who had a real battle to come through in her 4th round match against the young American, Jamie Hampton.

The excitement rose in the first long game of the first set as Kuznetsova broke Azarenka after ten deuces; and then went on to built up a comfortable 4-1 lead. Clearly in trouble but in typical Azarenka fashion, the top seed brought her A game to the match and broke in the 7th (on her third game point) and 9th games, to take this very hard fought set 7-5 in 77 minutes. Now on a roll, Azarenka came out with all guns blazing for the second set and, having broken Kuznetsova in the first game, raced to a 5-1 lead before getting the final break to take the set at 6-1 in just 30 minutes to make her way into the semis once again, where she will meet Sloane Stephens, the surprise winner over Serena Williams.

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