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Azarenka Escapes, Wozniacki Cruises in Semis

Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki moved past their respective semifinal opponents on Friday to set up a title clash in Memphis.

Published February 20, 2009 12:00

Azarenka Escapes, Wozniacki Cruises in Semis
Victoria Azarenka

MEMPHIS, TN, USA - One cruised and one barely scraped by, but Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki moved past their respective semifinal opponents on Friday to set up a title clash between the Top 2 seeds at the $220,000 Regions Morgan Keegan Championships & the Cellular South Cup.

Azarenka, the No.2 seed, was the first of the two to make the final, edging No.6 seed Sabine Lisicki in a three set thriller, 64 36 76(1). Azarenka was visibly frustrated with her low conversion rate on break points - she won three of 13 - but in the end was fired up, earning her first four match points leading 6-5 in the third set and eventually closing it out handily in the tie-break.

"When you don't play your best tennis it's tough to stay in there, especially when your opponent is playing really well," Azarenka stated. "Normally I'm in a good mood when I'm playing, but today I was frustrated with the mistakes I made. I'm happy I was able to play well in the big points today, though - I just have to forget about these problems and focus on tomorrow's match now."

"Of course I'm disappointed, but I'm happy the way I played, and I had a great week here," Lisicki said. "It was just a few points in the end that determined it all. I never stopped fighting - that's the most important thing for me, even if you're not playing well, you have to try your best. It shows me I can go out there and compete against some of the best players in the world."

Wozniacki, seeded No.1, had a much different experience, beating No.4 seed Anne Keothavong in just 54 minutes in the second semifinal of the day, 61 60.

"I expected it would be longer, but I'm happy it turned out this way," Wozniacki said. "It's always nice to have fast matches. That's what you're going for. Now I'm focused on doubles - hopefully Victoria and I can play in both finals."

"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Keothavong said. "I just played terribly. It was the worst I'd played all week. When you get to a semifinal, that's not how you want to play. It was just one of those days where nothing was working. But, you have good days and bad days - today was definitely a very bad day."

Wozniacki and Azarenka, the youngest and third youngest players in the world's Top 20 (Alizé Cornet is the second youngest), have played once before, in the second round of last year's US Open. A No.21-seeded Wozniacki emerged the winner in that match, pulling off a mild upset over a No.14-seeded Azarenka, 64 64; this is a different ball game though, as Wozniacki comes in as the favorite, ranked two spots higher than Azarenka (No.12 to No.14).

The first team to reach the doubles final was Yuliana Fedak and Michaella Krajicek, who upset top seeds Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva on Thursday. Azarenka and Wozniacki, the No.2 seeds, faced Maria Kondratieva and Sophie Lefèvre in the second doubles semifinal on Friday night, winning, 61 62.

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