Azarenka bests Stosur for semifinal spot

Sept. 4, 2012 at 5:40 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka gained a spot in the U.S. Open semifinals Tuesday with a straight-set victory over defending champ Samantha Stosur.

The Belarusian star overcame a rain delay to bounce her seventh-seeded Australian opponent 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) at Arthur Ashe Stadium in a quarterfinal matchup.

Azarenka was leading 3-0 in the first set when the rains came in New York, delaying the contest for 75 minutes.

After Stosur rallied in the second set, Azarenka jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the final stanza. Stosur got the break and eventually forced a match-deciding tiebreak, but sent a backhand beyond the baseline on the first match point, handing Azarenka the winner.

The 23-year-old world No. 1 improved to 7-0 lifetime overall versus Stosur, and now moves on to her fourth career Grand Slam semifinal and her first one at the U.S. Open.

She will meet the winner of Tuesday's second quarterfinal match between No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova of Russia and 11th-seeded Marion Bartoli of France.

Bartoli was leading 4-0 in the first set of that match when rain again suspended play.

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