Sunday, January 29, 2023

Azarenka and Tsitsipas surge into Aus Open semis

Victoria Azarenka showed glimpses of the form that took her to the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open titles with a vintage display to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday, before Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his march towards a maiden Grand Slam title.
Twice Grand Slam winner Azarenka meets Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the last four, but it was the end of the road for Sebastian Korda, whose dreams of emulating his famous father ended in pain and disappointment earlier in the day.
Having been beaten in the opening round by Jessica Pegula two years ago, Azarenka gained revenge by dismantling the in-form American third seed 6-4 6-1 to reach the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the first time in a decade.
The 33-year-old from Belarus was aggression personified in the match but conceded that it was “nerve-racking” to play in front of Rod Laver, the Australian great after whom the main showcourt is named.
Former French Open runner-up Tsitsipas also showed some of his best form, sealing a 6-3 7-6(2) 6-4 win over Jiri Lehecka, and said he was happy to have all the answers to the questions the unheralded Czech posed.
Korda tried in vain to find an answer and continue playing against Karen Khachanov but threw in the towel in their quarter-final match while trailing 7-6(5) 6-3 3-0 due to a wrist issue.
The retirement followed two medical timeouts and dashed the American’s hopes of emulating his father Petr’s 1998 Melbourne Park triumph.
Khachanov, who had also reached the last four of the 2022 U.S. Open, said it felt great to be back in a Grand Slam semi-final after reinventing himself.
Rybakina also booked her place in the semi-finals for the first time, the Kazakh 22nd seed beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in a match that was played under the roof after a rain shower halted play.
Having started her campaign on one of the outer courts at this year’s championship, Rybakina was every bit the star on Rod Laver Arena with a dominant display in which she sent down 11 aces to quell 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko.
Sania Mirza-Rohan Bopanna pair reaches mixed doubles semis
Ace Indians Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna on Tuesday marched through to the mixed doubles semifinals of the Australian Open after receiving a walkover in the quarterfinals from the Latvian-Spanish pair Jelena Ostapenko & David Vega Hernandez.
The Rio Olympic semifinalists on Monday defeated Japan’s Makoto Ninomiya and Uruguay’s Ariel Behar 6-4, 7-6(11-9) in their second-round match to set up a quarterfinal clash with Ostapenko and Hernandez. The Indian duo had earlier beaten Australia’s Jaimee Fourlis and Luke Saville in the first round.
Sania is playing her last major as the six-time Grand Slam champion and earlier this month announced that she will retire from professional tennis at Dubai Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event, which begins on February 19. Sania has six major titles in doubles discipline– three in women’s doubles and as many as in mixed doubles — with her maiden triumph coming in 2009 when she partnered Mahesh Bhupathi to clinch the Australian Open mixed doubles title.

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