News & Media

Ostapenko prepares to meet Azarenka in Brisbane International quarterfinals

4 January 2024, by Vivienne Christie

Whether it’s meetings between former world No.1s or of past Grand Slam champions, Brisbane International 2024 has already featured some tantalising battles.

And now another one looms, as major titlists Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko prepare to meet in a quarterfinal showdown.

Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion, while Ostapenko lifted the singles silverware at Roland Garros in 2017.

Fans can expect both entertaining aggression and extreme competitive intensity in a third professional match between the WTA stars.

> VIEW: Brisbane International 2024 order of play

For Azarenka, a sixth campaign in Brisbane is boosted by her positive memories of this tournament. The world No.22 is the winner of two titles in Brisbane – at the inaugural tournament in 2009, she also lifted her maiden trophy on tour.

“It was my first victory, so I will never forget that,” said the 34-year-old Azarenka, who also triumphed at her last Brisbane appearance in 2016.

“I remember that I played against Marion Bartoli and she was a great, great player and I was able to really go out in the final and really take my game and my first trophy, so it’s always going to be special.”

Ostapenko enters the final-eight showdown with Azarenka after a hard-fought victory over Karolina Pliskova, a three-time winner of this tournament.

Ranked world No.12, the Latvian is seeded No.3 in Brisbane and drawing on her ability to lift against top players this week.

“I think I have not much pressure and nothing to lose, because I’ve been in that situation before,” Ostapenko explained of her ability to lift a level against the world’s best.

“And also I really like to play on big courts with a lot of crowd. I really don’t enjoy to play on the small courts. I feel like when it’s a big court, a good opponent and a lot of crowd, I feel even more motivated and I really enjoy it a lot.”

Ostapenko will require all that spirit against Azarenka, a winner of the two previous matches they’ve played.

“It’s going to be a tough match, we always have tough matches against each other,” she noted. “It’s really great to get some wins, especially in the beginning of the year, so I’m just looking forward to it.”

Grigor Dimitrov, another former Brisbane International champion, also returns to action at Queensland International Tennis Centre on Friday. The No.2 seed faces Rinky Hijikata – one of three Australian men to reach the quarterfinals.

Rafael Nadal’s comeback will continue against local favourite, Jordan Thompson, while No.1 seed Holger Rune faces the Queensland-based James Duckworth.

> BUY NOW: Tickets for Brisbane International 2024