|Agnieszka Radwanska plays a shot to Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)|
MELBOURNE (AFP) ― Two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka was bundled out of the Australian Open in the quarterfinals on Wednesday by fifth seed Agnieszka Radwansa in another big tournament upset.
The determined Pole battled to a 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 win to send the Belarusian packing with the top three seeds now out of the Grand Slam following the defeats of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
It was a major scalp for Radwanska, who had lost all seven previous meetings with the Belarusian, and now goes into a semifinal with Slovak 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
The win also ensures the tournament will have a new champion with none of the semi-finalists ― Radwanska, Cibulkova, Li Na and Eugenie Bouchard ― having won before.
“It is always hard against her. I have lost so many times that (I knew) I had to play aggressive and go for my every shot. That’s what I tried to do and it worked today,” she said.
One of Radwanska’s biggest challenges was to block out Azarenka’s grunting, which has frustrated her in the past.
It came to head in Dubai in 2012 when the Pole said she was “angry” and had “lost a lot of respect” for the Belarusian because the noise coming out of her.
Nadal fights off Dimitrov to reach Open semi
World number one Rafael Nadal fought off a challenge from Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Nadal prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-2 in 3 hours 37 minutes and will play either Andy Murray or Roger Federer in the semis.