Former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka stayed hot beating Angelique Kerber 6-2, 7-5 in an exciting match last night in the Miami Open semifinals.
Azarenka, a 2-time champion at the event in 2009 and 2011, had lost to Kerber in the Australian Open quarterfinals, her first defeat to the German and her only loss thus far in 2016. But Azarenka said she was determined to not make the same mistakes again.
“I stayed very strong in the end,” said Azarenka who hit 29 winners to 16 unforced errors. “She’s such an amazing player. She got to so many balls; sometimes I just had to watch them. But I’m glad I kept pushing.”
Kerber, who struggled after winning in Melbourne, was playing her first semifinal in Miami.
Awaiting in the final is 2006 Miami champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian, who won Sydney in January, toughed out Swiss surprise Timea Bacsinszky in her semifinal 7-5, 6-3 in the afternoon.
“I am happy that I could hang in there and never let my hands down,” Kuznetsova said. “I have not been feeling my best but I have been fighting every ball and just trying to run as much as I could.
“I enjoyed the fight and I’m happy I’m still able to play against the best in the world. I was praying to finish it in two sets so I would have a little more time to rest.”
Bacsinszky, who made the French Open semifinals last year, had her best Miami Open.
Azarenka and Kuznetsova have split their previous eight meetings with the Belarussian winning their last three.
“We haven’t played each other in a while but I think we know each other pretty well,” Azarenka said. The two have played eight times previously, but their last encounter was more than three years ago.
“The last time we played we were both in different stages of our career so it’s interesting to see us coming back and playing such a high level of tennis. It’s gonna be tough but I’m very looking forward to this challenge.”
Azarenka will return to No. 5 in the world after the event.
The women’s final will be played on Saturday at 1pm.
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