New York: Former world number one Victoria Azarenka refused to blame a pedestrian performance in her US Open quarter-final defeat on Wednesday on food poisoning suffered the day before.
Azarenka, bidding to reach a third straight Flushing Meadows final, fell 6-4, 6-2 to Russian lefty Ekaterina Makaraova, who reached the first Grand Slam semi-final of her career.
Her spokesman said after the match that she`d battled food poisoning the day before, but the Belarusian -- already fed up with fielding questions about injuries earlier this season -- declined to discuss it.
"I`m not going to make excuses for myself. I did the best I could today," Azarenka said. "I want to give full credit to my opponent. She deserves to win. She played much better than me today."
Two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne in January, then found herself sidelined by a left foot injury.
An attempt to return at Indian Wells in March ended in an opening-round defeat. She didn`t play again until a first-round exit at Eastbourne in June, which was followed by a second-round defeat at Wimbledon.
She withdrew from the US Open tune-up event at Cincinnati with a right knee injury, and with her failure to reach the semi-finals in New York she`s slated to fall out of the top 20 in the world rankings.
But Azarenka refused to see her latest setback as part of a run of bad luck.
"It`s not luck," Azarenka said. "It`s just circumstances that you have to deal with and something that comes up and you deal with it.
"I had to deal with it today. Can I play better? Absolutely.
"It`s not the end of the world," she added. "It`s something I can take positive from this tournament. Two months ago I didn`t even think that I was going to be able to play today."
Instead, she played five matches in a tournament for the first time since the Australian Open, and she`ll head to tournaments in Tokyo, Wuhan and Beijing seeking to shore up her ranking.
"I`m going to try to play as much as I can in the end of the year," Azarenka said.