Adelaide, Jan 7 (MNN) Defending champion and number 5 seed Iga Swiatek overcame Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in 1 hour and 57 minutes to reach Adelaide International semi-finals here on Friday.
Swiatek’s only previous encounter with Azarenka came in the 2020 US Open third round when she was 19 and ranked number 53. Despite an impressive performance, Azarenka was able to advance 6-4, 6-2 en route to her fifth Grand Slam final.
Since then, the Pole has established herself firmly at the top of the game, and the bulk of their Adelaide rematch was a pulsating contest of top quality in which both sought to impose their weightiest hitting on the other.
Tactical adjustments and her signature competitive instincts enabled number 27-ranked Azarenka to become the first player to win a set from Iga Swiatek in Adelaide.
However, the 20-year-old eventually pulled away in the third set as an ailing Azarenka’s movement became visibly hampered, and maintains her eight-match winning streak in the South Australian capital.
Azarenka later withdrew from her doubles semi-finals with a right leg injury, handing number 3 seeds Darija Jurak Schreiber and Andreja Klepac a walkover into the final.
A popcorn clash between the 2019 and 2020 Roland Garros champions looms in the last four as Swiatek takes on number 1 seed Ashleigh Barty.
Like the Azarenka contest, it is another rematch for Swiatek against a major champion who triumphed in their only prior meeting. The Australian defeated Swiatek 7-5, 6-4 in the third round of Rome last year.