Victoria Azarenka rolled back the years at the Australian Open on Tuesday as the two-times champion crushed third seed Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1 to reach the semi-finals and remain on course for her third Grand Slam crown.
Azarenka, the last woman to defend the title after her 2013 triumph, raced into a 3-0 led over American Pegula in the first set before the highest seed left in the women’s draw finally held serve.
Pegula found her rhythm playing closer to the baseline and controlling the rallies to break back but Belarusian Azarenka found another gear to move ahead before both players failed to hold serve.
Former world number one Azarenka took the decisive lead, however, and closed out the match to set up a clash with Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina after the Kazakh 22nd seed beat former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.