January 25, 2009

Serena into quarterfinal as Azarenka retires (ill)

Second-seeded Serena Williams has advanced to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open after her fourth-round opponent, Victoria Azarenka, retired due to illness. Azarenka won the first set 6-3 and Williams was leading 4-2 in the second set when Azarenka, who appeared to be wavering as she attempted to serve, finally retired to end the match. Williams also took a medical timeout in the second set for an ankle ailment. She next faces 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian player advanced earlier Monday after her opponent, Zheng Zie of China, injured her wrist and retired.

Azarenka was dominating and straight up "handling" Serena in the first set. She could do no wrong. Serena attempted to try to right the ship in the second set by holding serve for a 4-2 lead but by this point it was obvious that something was seriously wrong with Azarenka. The only thing I actually appreciated from Serena in this match actually happened after the match. Brad Gilbert asked Serena about the next match and she responded, "I love playing Svetlana, she plays so well, gets a lot of balls back, she hits so hard and has so much power but right now I'm just worried about Victoria and I want to go and make sure that she is ok. She's a good girl." I pray that Victoria is ok and that Serena can get her game together.

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