Azarenka Suffers First Defeat of 2012 in Miami

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World No. 1 Viktoria Azarenka has suffered her first defeat of 2012, slumping to a straight sets defeat to former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli at the Miami Open.

World No. 1 Viktoria Azarenka has suffered her first defeat of 2012, slumping to a straight sets defeat to former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli at the Miami Open.

The 6-3, 6-3 quarterfinal loss Wednesday snaps a 26-game winning streak that saw Azarenka win the Australian Open, Qatar Open and Indian Wells.

Bartoli will now play Polish fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams 6-4, 6-1 in other game, for a place in the final.

“What I've done in the last couple of months, I have to be really proud of myself. I could have maybe played better today, that's for sure, but I gave it all I had,” Azarenka said on the event’s website.

Her streak made her opponents more determined to win, the Belarusian said.

“Anybody who would go play a No. 1 player in the world would be highly motivated, especially with me not losing a match. Everybody wanted to be the first one to beat me.”

Confidence was the key to beating such a dominant player, Bartoli said.

“I think the main key for me was the belief and really to step up on the court trying to win the match, not only thinking about how well she's playing and everything, but really go on the court, having a game plan and try to go for my shots,” Bartoli said.

Women’s world No. 2 Maria Sharapova is the lone Russian left in the singles events, and will play Danish fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday.

In the men’s singles, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal will play Britain’s Andy Murray in the semifinals after knocking out French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal dropped a set for the first time in the tournament, but recovered to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

Murray came back from a set down to knock out Croatian ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal was looking forward to the semifinal, he said, but was worried about a knee injury.

“Playing Andy is a pleasure for me, and exciting playing against a player like him that push you at the limit on everything,” he said on the event’s website.

“The negative thing is I have to recover well. I have to improve my knee if I really want to have any chance to win.”

Thursday will see quarterfinals between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Spain’s David Ferrer, for the right to face either United States eighth seed Mardy Fish or Argentine player Juan Monaco in the second semifinal.

In the women’s doubles, the Russian pair of Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova booked their place in the semifinals Wednesday with a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win over compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and her Czech partner Lucie Safarova.

They will now meet the unseeded pair of United States player Vania King and Romania’s Monica Niculescu in the semifinals.

 

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