Top-ranked Azarenka loses for 1st time this year

Key Biscayne: Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka lost for the first time this year when she was beaten by Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-3 in Wednesday night`s quarterfinals at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Azarenka had won 26 consecutive matches, a streak that began at the start of this year. Her start was the best on the women`s tour since Martina Hingis went 37-0 to begin 1997.

Azarenka had won her four previous tournaments this year, including the Australian Open for her first Grand Slam title. She was the defending champion at Key Biscayne.

The Belarussian had 16 winners and 29 unforced errors against Bartoli, and lost serve six times.

The No. 7-seeded Bartoli`s opponent in the semifinals Thursday will be No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, who eliminated Venus Williams 6-4, 6-1.

Bureau Report

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