MOSCOW, January 3 (R-Sport) - World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka progressed serenely into the semifinals of the Brisbane International on Thursday with a convincing demolition of a qualifier.
Azarenka’s second match of the season saw the Belarusian hand out a 6-1, 6-0 thrashing against Kazakhstan Ksenia Pervak, the world No. 103, following on from a straight-sets defeat of Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday.
Standing between 2009 Brisbane champion Azarenka and the final will be either third seed Serena Williams or youngster Sloane Stephens, who play later Thursday.
There were convincing victories for underdogs elsewhere in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open warm-up event.
World No. 5 Angelique Kerber bowed out after a tight 7-6(3), 7-6(3) defeat to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Each player broke once in each set, but it could not break the deadlock.
Pavlyuchenkova claimed her second win in a row against a top-ten player after beating Petra Kvitova in the second round, and has now reached the semifinals of a WTA event for only the second time in a year.
Her next opponent is lucky loser Lesia Tsurenko.
The Ukrainian entered the main draw as a late replacement for injured Maria Sharapova, but defied expectations to make the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over former top-ten star Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, ranked 84 places above her at 32nd in the world.