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Venus Williams shocks birthday girl Azarenka

Stanford (United States): Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams ousted fourth-seeded birthday girl Victoria Azarenka in straight sets on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament here.

Venus Williams
Venus Williams celebrates her win over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday. Pic/AFP.

The 6-4, 7-6 (7/1) triumph kept Williams on course for a possible semi-final showdown with her sister Serena.

Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka

“Williams-Williams tomorrow, hopefully,” Venus told the crowd at the campus of Stanford University, where she came out on top in a hard-fought, physical duel with Azarenka that lasted an hour and 42 minutes.

“It’s never easy to play Victoria. We’ve always had extremely tough matches, so I expected that tonight as well,” said Williams, who acknowledged that Azarenka may have been at a disadvantage after having a first-round bye.

That meant the match was the Belarussian’s first since her Round Two exit at Wimbledon.

It was a disappointing result on her 25th birthday for Azarenka, who came into the week ranked 10th in the world but needed to reach the semi-finals to stay in the top 10.

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