Australian Open: Azarebka back in business as Rybakina, Tsitsipas march on

FORMER women’s No.1 and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka rolled back the years today to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne.

The 33-year-old Belarusian defeated third seed Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1 to reach her first Australian Open semi-final since 2013, when she won her first title.

It is Azarenka’s first Grand Slam semi-final qualification since the 2020 US Open and her ninth Grand Slam semi-final overall.

With the win, Azarenka will return to the top 20 in the women’s ranking.

She will face Elena Rybakina, who defeated Jelena Ostapenko in their quarter-final clash earlier today.

The 23-year-old Rybakina, who won the 2022 Wimbledon title, beat 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 to reach her first Australian Open semi-final.

In men’s singles, Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov advanced to his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final after his opponent Sebastian Korda retired.

Khachanov was leading 7-6(5) 6-3 3-0 before Korda succumbed to injury.

Also today, Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame Jiri Lehecka 6-3 7-6(2) 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne for a third consecutive year, and the fourth time in the last five years: 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Tsitsipas, who has won all his nine matches in 2023, will battle Khachanov in the semi-finals in the quest for his first Grand Slam success and the No.1 spot in the world.

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