The too long absent Williams sisters are making the 2012 Sony Ericsson much more interesting.

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Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka lost 10 of the first 11 games, then rallied to remain unbeaten this year by overcoming Dominika Cibulkova 1-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 Monday in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open. Azarenka won her 26th consecutive match, a streak that began at the start of this year. Her start is the best on the women’s tour since Martina Hingis went 37-0 to begin 1997. In the second set, Azarenka fell behind 4-love. She found herself two points from defeat five times but swept the last three games and converted the first match point when Cibulkova sailed a passing shot long. Azarenka has won her four previous tournaments this year, including the Australian Open for her first Grand Slam title. She seeks her third Key Biscayne title.

Serena Williams matched a career high with 20 aces to beat Samantha Stosur 7-5, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals. “My serve was hot,” Williams said. “I was like, `That’s pretty cool.”’ Williams avenged a loss to Stosur when they last met in the U.S. Open final in September. “That wasn’t in my mind,” Williams said. “I just thought, `This is a new game.”’

Venus Williams rallied from a set down to defeat Ana Ivanovic, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2, and roar into the Sony Ericsson Open quarterfinals for the 10th time.


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