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Baby of group ready to shine

By Associated Press in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-06 07:19

Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka moved a win away from a possible showdown in the US Open finals with Serena Williams, beating Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.

And at 24 years young, Azarenka can claim something very few of the more experienced players can - a formula for beating Williams.

She is the only woman under the age of 30 to make the final four at Flushing Meadows this year.

"I'm a baby, what can I say?" Azarenka said.

She is one of only three women to beat top-seeded Williams this year and is the only opponent to beat her twice in 2013. The most recent was last month in the final at Cincinnati.

Baby of group ready to shine

Williams won the Open last year with a three-set win over Azarenka.

Similar to Williams' dominance of Carla Suarez Navarro the night before, Azarenka's match against 48th-ranked Hantuchova wasn't much of a roadblock.

Returning to the US Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, Hantuchova broke Azarenka's first service game in both sets but gave the breaks back right away. She picked up another break to pull within 5-3 in the second set but Azarenka broke back again to close out the match.

Standing in the way of a Williams-Azarenka final are fifth-seeded Li Na, who plays Williams in Friday's semifinals, and 83rd-ranked Flavia Pennetta, who goes against Azarenka.

"She's very good player, all-around player," Azarenka said of Pennetta. "She can do anything. She has a great touch, great variety, she can create power, create spin. I'm really looking forward to that match. It's a big challenge."

Li, Williams and Pennetta are all 31. Hantuchova is 30, and had she won, this would have been the first Grand Slam women's semifinals of the Open era with all four in their 30s.

(China Daily 09/06/2013 page22)

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