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By Chris Oddo | Thursday, July 31, 2014

 
Venus Williams Stanford 2012

Venus Williams remained undefeated against Victoria Azarenka on Thursday night in Stanford with a 6-4, 7-6(1) victory.

Photo Source: AP

Venus Williams continued her mastery of Victoria Azarenka on Thursday night at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, easing past the feisty Belarussian, 6-4, 7-6(1), for her fourth victory in four career meetings against Azarenka.

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The victory sets up a quarterfinal clash between Williams and Andrea Petkovic of Germany, and it also sends two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka tumbling out of the WTA’s top 10 for the first time since 2010.

The loss is Azarenka’s fifth in her last six matches, dating back to this year’s Australian Open. To be fair she has suffered from foot injuries and she did manage to play a very competitive match against an in-form Williams, despite having only played four tour-level matches since Indian Wells.

Azarenka fought hard to prolong the second set, breaking when Williams had a chance to serve for the match at 5-3, then hung tough to force a tiebreaker by saving two match points in the 12th game.

But the sizzling play of 34-year-old Williams proved to be too much for Azarenka in the tiebreaker, as Williams jumped out to a 5-0 lead and closed the match out three points later.

“I tried to be really aggressive in the tiebreaker,” Williams said. “What I do best is play aggressive, as well as she. One of us had to do it better and I’m glad it was me.”

Azarenka’s misfortune is Ana Ivanovic’s good fortune this week. The Serb will make her return to the top ten for the first time in over five years after reaching the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-1 crush job on qualifier Carol Zhao.

As her reward, Ivanovic gets a rematch with Serena Williams, the women she defeated for one of the biggest wins of her career this year in the Australian Open’s fourth round.

But the big wins have kept coming for Ivanovic. She has earned three titles this year and also became just the second player to defeat Maria Sharapova on clay since 2011 en route to the semifinals in Rome.

Also advancing on Thursday in Stanford were Garbine Muguruza, who reached her seventh quarterfinal of 2014 with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Daniela Hantuchova, and Angelique Kerber, who weathered a second-set bagel to take down American CoCo Vandeweghe, 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-2.

 

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