Azarenka 1st Into Australian Open QuarterfinalsMelbourne, Australia, Jan 22 : Victoria Azarenka has reached the quarterfinals without dropping a set the Australian Open after winning her fourth-round match against Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.The third-seeded Belarusian was the first
Melbourne, Australia, Jan 22 : Victoria Azarenka has reached the quarterfinals without dropping a set the Australian Open after winning her fourth-round match against Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.
The third-seeded Belarusian was the first player through to the last eight and will next eighth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Julia Goerges of Germany 6-1, 6-1.
With the win, 22-year-old Azarenka stayed in the hunt for the No. 1 ranking. Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova can also claim the top spot from Caroline Wozniacki.
"I would be a liar if I said I didn't care about it," Azarenka said. "It's in the back of my head and we'll take it day by day, I guess."
On a sunny day with the temperature rising to 32C (89F), Azarenka was on court for 1 hour, 17 minutes. She faced two break points and saved both and needed five match points to advance.
Azarenka, like Wozniacki, is aiming for her first Grand Slam title. She has never gone past the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, but goes into her match against Radwanska with a 6-3 winning record. The last of those victories came at the Sydney International tournament, which Azarenka won before coming to Melbourne.
Defending champion Kim Clijsters was up against Li Na in a repeat of the 2011 final later Sunday. Clijsters beat Li 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win the her fourth major title a year ago.
On the men's side, possible semifinal opponents Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were back on court.
Nadal was facing fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, while Federer was to play Australian teenager Bernard Tomic in the first match of the night session. Federer hasn't been beaten by a teenager since 2006, when he lost to Andy Murray at the Cincinnati Masters.