Serena Williams nears return to No. 1

Feb. 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM
| License Photo

DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka didn't lose a game Thursday at the Qatar Total Open but Serena Williams pulled within one win of taking the rankings' top spot.

Azarenka was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over Christina McHale in a third-round match and took another step toward defending her tournament title. But even if Azarenka repeats as champion, she will lose the No. 1 ranking should Williams win her quarterfinal match Friday.

Williams, seeded second at Doha, defeated Urszula Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 in 57 minutes Thursday. Williams won 62 percent of the points on serve and 63 off Radwanska's serve. She also finished off 6-of-9 break points.

Her stellar play since losing a first-round match at last year's French Open has put her on the verge of regaining the No. 1 ranking. At 31, she would be the oldest woman to reach the top of the rankings.

Azarenka won 69 percent of the points in her win Thursday. She dropped 10 points in six serving games.

Seven of the top eight seeds advanced to Friday's quarterfinals. Third-seeded Maria Sharapova did so with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Klara Zakopalova. Sharapova had nine double faults and lost her serve three times, however.

No. 4-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska stopped 13th-seeed Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) and will next play 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who advanced with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 decision over Mona Barthel.

Sixth-seeded Sara Errani just got by Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in more than 2 1/2 hours while No. 7-seeded Petra Kvitova defeated No. 11 Nadia Petrova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and Samantha Stosur, the eighth seed, topped Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5.

In addition to the Radwanska-Wozniacki match Friday, the quarterfinals have Azarenka going against Errani, Sharapova playing Stosur and Kvitova between Williams and the No. 1 ranking.

Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Trending Stories
SB50: Denver Broncos face tough call at QB in 2016
Johnny Manziel's ex-girlfriend claims he hit her
NFLPA hopes to have independent arbitration for player discipline next season
Watch every star-studded Super Bowl commercial of 2016
Group recreates 'Mario Kart' video game at UK mall