Victoria Azarenka might have been “playing like God” but she isn’t getting ahead of herself just yet despite waltzing into the Brisbane International semi-finals.
The former world No.1 continued her encouraging Australian Open preparations with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Roberta Vinci, last year’s US Open runner-up, at Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday night.
Moving like she rarely has since her devastating foot injury two years ago that triggered a slide from the world’s top 30, Azarenka will now face American qualifier Samantha Crawford in the semi-finals – and with the tournament’s top three seeds all injured, she has an excellent chance of capturing her first WTA title since 2013.
Even Vinci’s coach Francesco Cina was impressed, at one stage saying telling the Italian there was little she could do since two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka was “playing like God”.
“I think I felt the most comfortable today, definitely,” said Azarenka, currently ranked No.22 in the world.
“I executed my plan really well and I started the match well, which I think was missing a little bit in the previous two rounds.
“I felt my composure was solid from the beginning to the end. Pretty happy with that.”
Azarenka has dropped just 10 games on her way to the tournament’s final four, wrapping up the first set against Vinci in less than half an hour before wrestling control of a what started as a tight second set.
But the 26-year-old Belarusian, while pleased with her start to the year, said she was “curious” to see how she will deal with the big-serving Crawford, who has emerged as the tournament’s surprise packet after toppling Andrea Petkovic 6-3 6-0 in her quarter-final.
Crawford, 20, is also yet to lose a set in Brisbane.
“I’m curious to see how I can handle this situation,” Azarenka said.
“The semi-final is going to be interesting for both of us, facing somebody I’ve never faced before.
“I think the important (factor) is to stay focused on myself, like I did (in the) the transition from my second match to the third round.”