Clijsters falls to Azarenka in Miami
Miami: Belarussian Victoria Azarenka produced some sparkling tennis to defeat an out-of-sorts world number two Kim Clijsters in the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday.
Azarenka, whose career breakthrough came with her win here at Key Biscayne in 2009, ran out 6-3 6-3 winner against the 2010 champion Clijsters.
The eighth-ranked Azarenka took full advantage of a below-par display from Clijsters who made 44 unforced errors, a day after she was pushed to a third set tie-break by Ana Ivanovic.
"I just didn`t feel good out there. Just mentally and physically, I didn`t feel right," the Belgian told reporters.
"It has been a tough few last days but not in a way that I should not be ready for that. I train hard enough to physically be capable of doing that.
"Mentally I just kind of feel like I didn`t have any fighting spirit.
"It`s obviously tough against someone like her. Against some lower ranked players maybe it`s possible to get through matches, but against somebody like her it isn`t," she said.
Azarenka, playing good all-round tennis, had a spring in her step on a venue where she first emerged as a player to watch on the tour.
"I feel like I`m happy all the time. It doesn`t matter whether I`m on or off the court.
"Here there is so much excitement from people and so many great fans coming. It`s always going to be a special place for me, so I`m really enjoying my time here," she said.
"I`m really happy with the way I`ve started to play. I`m really happy on the court. When you enjoy playing, it makes it a lot easier to be there."
Azarenka will face Russian world number three Vera Zvonareva in the semi-finals on Thursday after she beat Poland`s Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5 6-3.
The Russian took advantage of some mediocre serves from her opponent to go up 6-5 in the first set and although Radwanska rallied in the next game to go up 30-0 against serve, Zvonareva regained her composure to wrap up the first set.
It was easier going in the second and the Russian finished off the ninth-seeded Radwanska with a perfect passing shot.
Russian Maria Sharapova will face emerging German talent Andrea Petkovic in Thursday`s other semi-final.