Friday, April 1, 2011
Azarenka, who won the Miami title in 2009, defeated 2010 champion Kim Clijsters en route to today’s semi-final match. Tonight, the native of Belarus stormed the court, dropping only eight points to Zvonareva in the first set. She adapted to the Russian’s short balls and came into the net aggressively, knocking off a total of nine winners in the first set.
Zvonareva seemed to adjust to the pace, and held serve to start the second set. Azarenka evened to 1-1, and after four deuces in the third game, Zvonareva hit a cross-court forehand winner to take her second game of the match.
Azarenka played on, nonplused by the onslaught of 14 winners from her opponent, and broke in the sixth game, surging from 40-15 to gain a 4-2 advantage. She allowed Zvonareva one more game, but closed out the match on her fifth break point of the night. Azarenka hit 13 winners overall, and once ace.
This is Azarenka’s first semi-final of the year, but the performance sets her up for a one-spot increase to No. 7 in the world. Earlier this year, she reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, and the quarter-finals of Sydney and Indian Wells. The Belarusian has five career titles, and looks to claim her sixth overall and second in Miami when she plays Saturday’s final against Sharapova, who secured her third final at this tournament earlier today. Azarenka and Sharapova are competing in there fifth and sixth Miami tournaments, respectively.