'Loco' Azarenka battles Broncos anxiety

Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:18am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka was plagued by anxiety about her beloved Denver Broncos in the NFL playoffs but the Belarusian had few nervous moments in a 6-2 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova on Monday that put her into a fifth Australian Open quarter-final.

After wrapping up victory over the unseeded Czech, twice champion Azarenka wasted little time in finding out if her favourite team had booked their place in the Super Bowl.

"I played smart, I played aggressive and I took my opportunities. Can someone tell me if the Broncos won?" she asked the crowd at Rod Laver Arena during a courtside interview.

"Yes!" she screamed after being told the Broncos had beaten the New England Patriots 20-18 in the AFC title game.

"I was emotional the whole morning about it," the 2012 and 2013 Melbourne Park champion later told reporters. "I'm a huge sports fan, so when I'm a fan of somebody, I'm a die hard.

"I'll get nervous. I get emotional ... When I play, I'm in

control. I'm in control of my body, of my emotions. That's all on me. When it's somebody else doing it and I have absolutely no control, I go loco. I will scream ... Break the TV or something."

Azarenka's screams were heard throughout the one hour, 26 minute match against Strycova but the former world number one was a model of composure in securing her fourth consecutive win at Melbourne Park without conceding a set.   Continued...

Belarus' Victoria Azarenka celebrates after winning her fourth round match against Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter