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Top seeds knocked out in Japan

World No 1 Victoria Azarenka and No 2 Maria Sharapova crashed out of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in contrasting styles yesterday.

Azarenka, from Belarus, pulled out citing fatigue, while the French Open champion from Russia went down to Samantha Stosur of Australia 4-6, 6-7 (10/12) in the quarter-finals.

Russia’s Maria Sharapova and Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka look disappointed during their defeats to Angelique KerberĀ and Samantha Stosur respectively in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open yesterday. Pics/Getty Images, AFP

But defending champion and World No 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland safely went through beating 2010 Tokyo champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3.

“Before the tournament on Sunday, I started not feeling very good, just low energy,” said Azarenka, 23, giving Angelique Kerber of Germany a free ticket to the semi-finals. “It took too much energy in the last two matches and today it’s not possible for me,” added the top seed.

Two-time champion Sharapova took a service break lead first in both sets, losing the advantage both times before coming back from 3-5 down in the second set to force a tie-breaker. Sharapova staved off four match points in the tie-breaker, but surrendered the match on Stosur’s fifth match point. “Obviously she was up 5-3 and had a chance to win the match comfortably. I had chances in the tie-break (to win the set). Just a one point here, one point there changed a little bit, but it didn’t go my way. It’s disappointing to lose,” said Sharapova, 25.

In the semi-finals on Friday, Stosur will play Nadia Petrova of Russia, who came back from behind to beat sixth seed Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Lee-Tecau storm into Thailand semis
Leander Paes and Romania’s Horia Tecau defeated Serbian-German pair of Janko Tipsarevic and Alexander Waske 6-0, 3-6, 10-5 to book a place in the semi-finals of the ATP Thailand Open yesterday. The top seeds will face USA’s Eric Butorac and Australia’s Paul Hanley in the semis.

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