Radwanska ends Azarenka reign at Melbourne Park

Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:24am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Silent assassin Agnieszka Radwanska toppled a shrieking Victoria Azarenka 6-1 5-7 6-0 on Wednesday to end the Belarusian's bid for a hat-trick of titles and reach her maiden Australian Open semi-final.

The crafty Pole frustrated Azarenka with a scrambling, cat-and-mouse game early and completely dismantled the Belarusian in the final set to close out one of her finest victories in two sun-drenched hours at Rod Laver Arena.

In a tournament littered with big upsets, Radwanska booked a semi-final against 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova, and put herself in the box seat to crack her first grand slam title after coming close in a heartbreaking loss to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2012.

Radwanska also missed a big chance at the championships last year when she was dumped by unheralded German Sabine Lisicki in the semi-finals.

The 24-year-old Pole said dwelling on the near-misses would not be in her preparations.

"Of course, losing matches like at Wimbledon, it's always disappointing. It's kind of painful, as well, especially that it was the semi-final of a grand slam.

"But I think you're playing so many tournaments, so many very important matches, that it takes really not much time to forget.

"I think every grand slam is a different story. I'm trying not to really think about other matches, especially tough matches that I lost."   Continued...

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland hits a return to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their women's singles quarter-final tennis match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip