Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Azarenka, Stosur advance to final of the Qatar Open


World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka overcame a second-set injury scare to thrash Aginezska Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 and sweep into the final of the WTA Qatar Open on Saturday.

The top seed from Belarus will meet Australia’s US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the final after Marion Bartoli of France retired early in the second set of their semi-final with cramps.

Azarenka won despite having court side treatment on her left foot immediately after Radwanska broke back in the second game of the second set.

The world No. 1 was in apparent pain as she had her foot strapped and for a few minutes it looked like she too would call it quits like Bartoli did an hour earlier.

However, after a near eight-minute delay, Azarenka came back with renewed determination that left Radwanska completely at her mercy.

Azarenka said the adrenaline kept her going.

“When you are in the match, the adrenaline is going and you try not to think about it and just try to give your best, whatever it is,” she said.

“Sometimes the pain eases out, especially when you’re winning and you are in that mode that you kinda try to forget about the pain. It doesn’t happen always, but I was just trying to have a clear mind and just fight through, whatever happened, happened,” she added.

After the scores were tied at 2-2, Azarenka won three games in a row to lead 5-2 and although Radwanska herself had a break and retained her serve to close in at 4-5, the Australian Open champion was not letting the opportunity slip by, winning the 10th game 40-0 with a forehand down the line to reach her third final of the season.

“Honestly, I don’t know how I managed to pull it off,” she said.

“I had to concentrate very hard on every point, but I am happy that I made it,” added Azarenka, who took her winning streak this year to 16 to equal the now retired Justine Henin’s record set in 2004.

Earlier, Bartoli decided to call off her bid for a first title in Doha after losing the first set 6-3 to Stosur.

“It started yesterday during the match against Lucie [Safarova],” Bartoli said. “In the third set I really felt like my right calf was starting to cramp and I really had to make sure I finished that third set very quickly.”



Russian Alexandra Panova and Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain advanced to the finals of the WTA’s Copa BBVA Colsanitas on the outdoor clay-courts at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo on Saturday.

Panova defeated Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-2, 6-3, while Arruabarrena-Vecino cruised past Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania, 6-4, 6-3.

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