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Azarenka back in Australian Open quarter-finals after 7-year wait

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Former world number one Victoria Azarenka reached her first Austalian Open quarter-final for seven years as she fended off China’s Zhu Lin 4-6 6-1 6-4.

Azarenka, twice a title winner in Melbourne, started slowly and lost the opening set but stormed through the second to take the fourth round match into a decider.

Neither player could hold serve in the third set but Azarenka’s greater experience finally pulled her through.

The Belarusian wobbled when serving for the match at 5-4 but hit back from 15-40 to complete the victory at 2.15am local time with an angled crosscourt backhand winner.

Azarenka, 33, will face third-seeded American Jessica Pegula for a place in the semi-finals.

“I feel so relieved, it was complete pressure, lots of momentum shifts. There was everything in this match,” 24th seed Azarenka said on a sparsely-populated Rod Laver Arena.

“Happy I could handle everything and take my chances and went for it. I have had a couple of close matches this year that didn’t go my way. So, I’m really proud of myself.”

Looking ahead to her quarter-final she said it would be a more familiar opponent, having known liitle about Zhu Lin.

“I have practised a lot with Jess and I’m going to enjoy that one. If I do lose I would rather lose to Jess, but I’m going to give her hell!”

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Aderonke Ojo

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.

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