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Azarenka for Ana

Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka advanced to the US Open quarter-finals Tuesday, beating Serbian 13th seed Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a match postponed from Monday due to rain.

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka celebrates after winning a point against Ana Ivanovic during their US Open pre-quarter-final clash yesterday. Pics/AFP

The 24-year-old second seed from Belarus took advantage of Ivanovic’s 42 unforced errors and broke the former World No 1 nine times in the match, winning despite surrendering seven breaks herself and hitting just 21 winners.

Fiery start
Ivanovic had fired 15 forehand winners before Azarenka managed her first. “Ana just came out firing. She played really amazing tennis in the first set,” Azarenka said. “I was sleeping and she was ripping winners.

“I had to wake up in the second set. I was more determined and focused and took advantage of those opportunities.” Azarenka, who lost to Serena Williams in last year’s US Open final, will play for a semi-final spot against Slovakia’s 48th-ranked Daniela Hantuchova, with whom she has split four career meetings.

Ana Ivanovic
Serbian Ana Ivanovic returns to Victoria Azarenka

“She’s playing the best tennis of her life,” Azarenka said of Hantuchova. Azarenka, a semi-finalist in five of the past seven Grand Slams, defeated World No 1 Williams in the final at Cincinnati in the last big US Open tune-up event to become the main threat to dethrone Williams.

Williams, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, and Chinese fifth seed Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion were set to try to reach the semi-finals in later matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium last night. Neither has dropped a set in reaching the last eight.

Reigning French Open champion Williams, seeking her fifth US Open crown was set to face Spanish 18th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who has never won a title.

The first Spaniard in the US Open quarter-finals since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1998 seeks her first Grand Slam semi-final in her first quarter-final appearance since the 2009 Australian Open.

Li was about to take on Russian 24th seed Ekaterina Makarova, with the winner set to advance to her first US Open semi-final. 

Makarova, who has never reached a Grand Slam semi-final, upset Williams in last year’s Australian Open fourth round but has lost all three prior meetings with Li. 

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