Azarenka, Serena to clash in Brisbane semis

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Updated: January 3, 2013

Victoria Azarenka breezed through Thursday’s quarterfinal match at the season-opening Brisbane International.

The world No. 1 from Belarus figures to have a more difficult challenge in the
semifinals when she goes up against Serena Williams.

Azarenka, who captured her first career WTA singles title at this event in
2009, posted a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Kazakhstan’s Ksenia Pervak.

A superior opponent awaits her Friday in the third-seeded Williams, who bested
fellow American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.

Azarenka is bidding to snap a nine-match losing streak against Williams. Her
lone win in 12 lifetime meetings came in Miami four years ago.

The other semifinal will pit Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against
Ukrainian lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko. Pavlyuchenkova outlasted fourth-seeded
German Angelique Kerber in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), while
Tsurenko beat Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-4.