Victoria Azarenka defends controversial timeout

Azarenka said her initial comments, given in an on-court interview, had simply been misunderstood. And she insisted the reason for the timeout was genuine.

updated: January 24, 2013 15:59 IST
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Melbourne, Australia: Victoria Azarenka defended herself against a storm of criticism on Thursday after she took a medical timeout at a crucial stage of her Australian Open semi-final defeat of teenager Sloane Stephens.

Azarenka's surge into the final against China's Li Na was overshadowed by a controversial 10-minute break when she left Rod Laver Arena for treatment on a rib complaint that was giving her back pain and breathing difficulties.

When she left the court, Azarenka had just blown five match points, and America's Stephens, 19, was left waiting to serve to stay in it. When Azarenka returned, she broke the teenager to win 6-1, 6-4 in 1hr 41min.

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