Victoria Flourishes To Make Final Four In Luxembourg
Published October 21, 2011 09:24
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - If her play so far at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open is any indication, Victoria Azarenka will be a force to be reckoned with at next week's TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2011.
Azarenka has given up the least amount of games of Luxembourg's semifinalists - 12 - with her latest rout being Friday's 63 62 triumph over Iveta Benesova, her 50th match win of the year. She is now 3-0 all-time against Benesova, never having given up more than three games in a set.
"Iveta is a dangerous player and she played pretty well today, so I really had to earn the points," Azarenka said. "I didn't feel like I played my best tennis today, but I'm glad that when I needed to step up my game, I was able to do it."
The top-seeded Azarenka will try to snap a streak of three straight semifinal losses when she takes on sixth-seeded Julia Goerges on Saturday.
"It's obviously going to be a tough match," Azarenka said. "She's a very good player and the court suits her well. We played earlier this year, but that was on clay. I have to be really focused tomorrow and try to play better than today."
As for Goerges, she advanced when quarterfinal opponent Anastasija Sevastova retired with a right hip injury while trailing 5-2 in the first set.
"That's never the way you want to win," said Goerges, who overcame two match points en route to beating Sevastova last week in Linz. "But you save some energy, and I played pretty well up to 5-2, so I can be happy with that. Tomorrow's going to be a tough one against Vika. She's a top player. It will be one of my last matches of the year, so I hope I can enjoy every second of it."
Saturday's other semifinal will pit qualifier Anne Keothavong against Monica Niculescu. Niculescu defeated Lucie Hradecka, 64 64, while Keothavong ended Bibiane Schoofs' dream WTA debut tournament, 63 62.
"Last year I had a really nice time here. It was a good week for me," said Keothavong, whose last run to a semifinal occurred here last year. "And this week I've already played six matches and got six wins. There's obviously something in the air here. They should have more tournaments here. Being British and growing up on indoor courts, I guess this surface suits me."
Keothavong is seeking her first career semifinal victory, as she is 0-6 so far.
"I've never made a final. It'd be great if I could get over that hurdle," Keothavong said. "This week would be a great place to do it. Monica's going to be tough. It's going to be a battle tomorrow."
Niculescu also made the semis at her last event two weeks ago in Beijing and this week rose to a career-high No.34 on the rankings. If either she or Goerges win the title this week, they will secure a berth in next month's Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali.