20
Jan
12

Azarenka loses her cool but moves on to join Wozniacki in the 4th round.

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Wozniacki saw off the 31st seed 6-2 6-2 to set up a meeting with 13th seed Jelena Jankovic, who beat American Christina McHale 6-2 6-0. She is joined in the fourth round by third seed Victoria Azarenka, a 6-2 6-4 winner against Mona Barthel of Germany. Defending champion Kim Clijsters beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-3 6-2.

Wozniacki also negotiated her first two matches in straight sets, but she played with greater authority and variety against Niculescu. The Dane broke serve in games two and seven of a 36-minute opening set and races into a 5-1 lead in the second. Niculescu used her unusual sliced forehand to prevent her opponent serving out the match, but Wozniacki hit straight back to seal her triumph. Looking ahead to Jankovic or McHale, she said: “Both of them are tough competitors and it’s going to be a match with long rallies. “I’ll have to be aggressive. No matter who I face, she will be fast and I will have to take my opportunities.”

The next challenge for Azarenka comes in the form of unseeded Czech Iveta Benesova, a 6-1 6-3 winner against Nina Bratchikova. “I’m playing pretty good,” said the Belarusian, who needed four match points to get past Barthel in 88 minutes. “At the end I was not brave enough to finish the match but I’m glad I managed to in the end – I had to kick myself to finally finish it.” Azarenka destroyed Heather Watson and Casey Dellacqua rounds one and two, and it seemed a repeat was likely against Barthel. She took the first set off her German opponent in 31 minutes with two breaks of serve and only three unforced errors. Barthel showed more grit in the second and after being broken to love in game five, she had break-back points in games eight and 10. But Azarenka held firm on both occasions to come through, although not without controversy. On match point three the 22-year-old felt a Barthel return landed wide, but she had already used all of her Hawk Eye challenges. She berated both the line judge and umpire before the final point and again once she had served out the match, drawing boos from the crowd on Hisense Arena.

Elsewhere, eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska overcame Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan 6-2 6-2 with a brilliant display. The Pole goes on to face 22nd seed Julia Goerges of Germany, who came from a set down to beat Italy’s Romina Oprandi 3-6 6-3 6-1.

 

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