Brisbane, Australia: Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka wasted no time in a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kazakh qualifier Ksenia Pervak on Thursday, setting up a possible semifinal showdown with Serena Williams at the Brisbane International.
Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion, needed only 68 minutes to win her quarterfinal, breaking Pervak’s serve seven times.
Pervak had opened the tournament with an upset win over former No 1 Caroline Wozniacki, but didn’t have anything left to trouble Azarenka after coming off back-to-back matches decided in third-set tiebreakers.
No 3-ranked Williams was playing fellow American Sloane Stephens in a night quarterfinal. Williams has won 33 of her last 34 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics and US Open. She has an 11-1 record against Azarenka, including five wins in all of the matches they played in 2012.
Azarenka and Williams represent the solitary two seed participants still in competition after No 36-ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia quiver No 4 Angelique Kerber of Germany 7-6 (3), 7-6 (3), her 2nd profits over a Top 10 participant this workweek after quivering 2011 Wimbledon booster Petra Kvitova in the beginning turn.
Pavlyuchenkova has spent a bit of time with Williams at the Patrick Mouratoglou tennis academy in France, where she has been honing her game with five-time major winner Martina Hingis.
The 21-year-old Russian has even been let the cat out of the bagging karaoke with the two erstwhile No 1-ranked participants.
“I haven’t had a chance to hit with (Serena), but I had a chance to sing with her,” she said. “Yeah, she loves karaoke and I love karaoke. But they’re much older with Martina so they sing songs of ’90s that I don’t really know that well.”
Pavlyuchenkova, a semifinalist here in 2011, will next play Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, the lucky loser from qualifying who got into the main draw when No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova withdrew due to a sore right collarbone.
Tsurenko take after up her second-round profits over Australia is Jarmila Gajdosova with a 6-3, 6-4 profits over Slovakia is Daniela Hantuchova.
“I’m the first time in my life lucky loser, and it’s really surprising for me to take the spot of Maria Sharapova,” Tsurenko said. “I’m just enjoying now. That’s my chance. I’m just taking it. “
In the men’s second round, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria upset No. 2-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 6-4.
Defending champion Andy Murray, the Olympic and US Open champion, was playing Australian qualifier John Millman in a night match.