Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Azarenka, Bartoli in Brisbane final

Victoria Azarenka and Marion Bartoli will meet in the finals of the Brisbane International after both claimed victories on Friday.
The second-seeded Azarenka advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Italian Sara Errani while France’s Bartoli, the No. 3 seed, moved on when fifth-seeded compatriot Amelie Mauresmo retired due to a left thigh injury after falling behind 4-0 in the first set.
Eyeing her first career title, Belarus’ Azarenka forced nine break points, winning six, to take the semifinal match in 65 minutes.
“I’m obviously very happy – I just want to do better than the last time and win my first title,” said Azarenka, whose last final appearance came in May at Prague.
“I will fight for every point. It’s the last match so you have to give everything you have and stay positive no matter what.”
Bartoli, who is seeking her fourth career title and first since Quebec City in 2006, broke Mauresmo twice and fired two aces before her opponent retired after only 25 minutes.
“It was a heartbreaker,” Bartoli said of Mauresmo’s injury. “I knew it was bad because Amelie never calls for the trainer.”
Mauresmo received treatment from a trainer on her left thigh and lower back in the fifth game, but was unable to continue.
“I kept going (initially) but I couldn’t really push off the serve like I really wanted,” Mauresmo said. “Even though it’s frustrating and it’s not how you want to end a tournament, I guess it’s more reasonable to make sure I’m 100 percent for (the Australian Open).
“I just hope it’s not too bad and I can be good for Melbourne. At worst I’d hope that nine days … would be enough to make it feel much better.”
Saturday’s final will be the second career meeting between Azarenka and Bartoli. Azarenka earned a 6-0, 7-5 victory in their first matchup during the 2007 Australian Open. First prize is $37,000.

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