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Azarenka knocked out

Thursday, January 23, 2014

MELBOURNE - Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska snapped a seven-match losing streak against Victoria Azarenka to send the two-time defending champion crashing out of the Australian Open quarter-finals yesterday.

After meekly losing her serve to gift the second set to the No.2 seed, Radwanska kept her composure, dominating the final set to win 6-1 5-7 6-0.

Azarenka's loss meant that none of the top three seeds made it to the last four at Melbourne, Park, with world No.1 Serena Williams and third seed Maria Sharapova losing earlier in the tournament.

Radwanska is through to a grand slam semi for only the third time in 31 attempts and the first at any major other than Wimbledon.

The Polish star's opponent in the last four today will be 20th-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, who smashed Simona Halep 6-3 6-0.

Cibulkova, 24, had upset Sharapova in the previous round and never looked troubled against Halep.

The 11th-seeded Romanian looked overawed in her first grand slam quarter-final and was only able to hold her serve twice in seven attempts.

"That's the best quarter-final I've ever played here," said Radwanska.

"I said to myself one day I have to take another step and get to the semi-final and I'm so happy I did that.

"I had to play my best tennis or even better, to be very aggressive and go for every shot I could."

Radwanska played a great game to break Azarenka's serve to open the deciding set before marching away to claim victory in a match lasting exactly two hours.

It was the first time Azarenka had been "bagelled" in a set at Melbourne Park.

Cibulkova's powerhouse victory over Halep saw her advance a second grand slam semi-final.

The only previous occasion that the Slovakian had reached the last four at a major was at the 2009 French Open.

"I was playing aggressive and I was playing freely," said Cibulkova.

"I really enjoyed my time on the court.

"That's what I want to do."

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