>> Friday, April 27, 2012
In STUTTGART, Germany, world #1 Victoria Azarenka and #4 Agnieszka Radwanska set-up their 5th meeting of the year in the semifinals of the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Watch the semifinal action live between Azarenka and Radwanska live here. Both players scored 3-set victories over tough quarterfinal opponents. The No.4-seeded Radwanska won first, battling from a set and a break down to beat No.8 seed and reigning French Open champion Li Na, 36 62 63.
The No.1-seeded Azarenka followed Radwanska into the semifinals, but not until almost three hours later - having led 64 31 and seemingly closing in on a straight set victory, Azarenka ended up having to battle for two hours and 48 minutes to finally get by German wildcard Mona Barthel, 64 67(3) 75. Barthel had her chances, going up a break early in the third set, and she served big - she had 13 aces in the match. But she also had 16 double faults in the match, including two in the final game, and one on the final point.
Azarenka and Radwanska are arguably the two best women tennis players in the past four months. Azarenka won Sydney, Doha, Indian Wells and her first Grand Slam in Melbourne this year. Radwanska won in Dubai and Miami. Both players lead the WTA with 28 wins each after the quarterfinals. Azarenka has lost once only this year - at the quarterfinal stage in Miami - after winning 26 straight matches to start the year. Radwanska lost four times, all of them to Azarenka. Azarenka currently leads their head-to-head series, 9-3, and almost scored a double-bagel in their last match at Indian Wells 60 62. The winner will advance to the final against the winner of the other semifinal between #2 Maria Sharapova and #3 Petra Kvitova.
Azarenka quote after beating Barthel: "I felt like she was playing much better when she was down... She would go for her shots and it seemed like everything would go in - but I fought hard and tried to just stick with her, and if I couldn't take one opportunity, I'd try to take the next one - I knew I'd get another one... Mona has been showing some excellent tennis throughout the year... She has a big serve and big strokes, and she's just coming up, so she has absolutely nothing to lose - it's no surprise she's going to come out and show great tennis. She already had two good wins here in Stuttgart."
Radwanska quote after beating Li: "She was playing very well today, and I think I wanted to do too much in the beginning... I was making a couple of mistakes early but in the second set I knew I had to be more calm and serve much better. It was very close and I'm happy I could turn it around and beat her on clay courts."
Radwanska quote on playing Azarenka: "We've played each other many times, especially this year - the fifth time this year now... It's kind of weird, but we have no choice!" Watch Stuttgart 2012 semifinal live featuring Azarenka vs Radwanska through TennisTv.com.