Champ Victoria Azarenka survives Svetlana Kuznetsova onslaught to reach semis

The Belarusian began motoring to victory when she broke Kuznetsova's opening serve of the second set. She immediately conceded her own serve, but another break was exchanged and that was the end of Kuznetsova's resistance, as Azarenka finished the match with a barrage of groundstroke winners.

updated: January 23, 2013 11:31 IST
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Melbourne: Defending champion Victoria Azarenka survived a torrid early battle with Svetlana Kuznetsova Wednesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals and keep her grip on the number one ranking.

A marathon first set took 1hr 17min before the world number one completed her 7-5, 6-1 triumph in 1hr 47min. She will face Sloane Stephens for a place in Saturday's final.

The very first game was a drawn-out scrap, lasting eight minutes and going to Russian comeback queen Kuznetsova, a two-time major-winner who is making a successful return from injury.

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