Azarenka completes semifinal line-up in Istanbul, secures year-end No.1 ranking


Victoria Azarenka joined Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals of the WTA Championships, at the same time clinching the year-end No.1 ranking. The Belarusian recovered from a first-set deficit to beat Li Na, despite the horrible -19 winners-to-unforced errors differential (6/25).

Li started the match with a break and consolidated it for 2-0, but no one expected the situation to unfold that straightforwardly. The Chinese led until 4-2 and even though Azarenka returned to 4-4, Li broke her serve once again and served for the set. But Li likes to give off leads and double faulted to give Azarenka a break back. The Belarusian seized the opportunity, took the set in a tiebreak and finally the match 7-6(4) 6-3, when Li sent a forehand long.

The first semifinal on Saturday is between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, a rematch of the 2012 Wimbledon final, while the second semifinal is a rematch of the 2012 Australian Open final between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Semifinalists time on court: Radwanska 8 hours 4 minutes, Azarenka 6 hours 32 minutes, Sharapova 5 hours 50 minutes and Williams 4 hours 45 minutes. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)

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