Azareka moves into last eight of Australia Open

Melbourne, Jan 25 (IANS) Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka had her toughest match of the Australian Open tennis tournament thus far but took out Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-4, to reach the quarter-finals here on Monday.

Azarenka faced the Czech Strycova for a third straight year in Melbourne – the second round in 2014, and the third round in 2015.

“Maybe next year, we’ll play in the quarters!” Azarenka joked after winning their fourth round meeting at the Rod Laver Arena.

Strycova stretched the two-time Australian Open champion over two sets, hitting 23 winners to Azarenka’s 15, but was undone by 33 unforced errors and an inability to convert either of the two break points she engineered.

“She’s such a tough opponent, and I’m just so happy that I went through. I played smart, aggressively, took my opportunities and I really kept my composure.”

Up next for Azarenka is Angelique Kerber, against whom she has a perfect 6-0 head-to-head record, including a two-set win in the final of the Brisbane International three weeks ago.

“I’m looking forward to that; we always have such amazing battles. She’s such a fighter and an amazing person off the court, as well. I just want to make sure we show some good tennis, enjoy myself and do my best. I’m sure she’s going to do the same,” Azarenka said.

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