Victoria Azarenka’s impressive Australian Open preparations have continued with a dominant straight sets victory over Italy’s Roberta Vinci in their Brisbane International quarterfinal.
The former world No.1 turned back the clock with a classy 6-1, 6-2 victory over Vinci, last year’s US Open runner-up, on Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday night.
Spanish sixth seed Carla Suarez Navarro sealed her place in the semifinals with a come-from-behind victory over American lefty Varvara Lepchenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Suarez Navarro battled for two hours and 43 minutes on Show Court 1 to register the win. She will face German fourth seed Angelique Kerber for a place in the final.
Moving like she rarely has since her devastating foot injury two years ago that triggered her slide from the world’s top 30, Azarenka will now face American qualifier Samantha Crawford in the semifinals and has an excellent chance of capturing her first WTA title since 2013.
Azarenka has dropped just 10 games on her way to the tournament’s final four and appears to be in ominous touch.
The Belarusian, currently ranked No.22 in the world, wrapped up the first set in less than half an hour, breaking Vinci’s serve four times before gaining control of a tight second set.
Even Vinci’s coach Francesco Cina was impressed, at one stage telling the Italian there was little she could do since Azarenka was “playing like God”.
Azarenka will start as a strong favourite against Crawford, the tournament’s surprise packet who toppled Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-0 in her quarterfinal.