Azarenka crushes US qualifier in Brisbane

Azarenka crushes US qualifier in Brisbane

Victoria Azarenka has made light work of American qualifier Samantha Crawford to stroll into the final of the Brisbane International.

The two-time Australian Open champion wrapped up a comprehensive 6-0 6-3 victory over a visibly nervous Crawford in their semi-final at Pat Rafter Arena on Friday night and is now just one win away from securing her first WTA title since 2013.

It also takes Azarenka one step closer to a top 16 seeding for the Australian Open and continues her strong pre-tournament preparations.

Azarenka will meet Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the Brisbane final after she beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-3 in their semi-final earlier on Friday.

“We have marathon matches, all the time. Hopefully it’s another good one,” Azarenka said.

Big-serving Crawford, ranked 142 in the world, powered her way through qualifying to emerge as the surprise packet of the women’s draw, toppling seventh seed Belinda Bencic and world No.24 Andrea Petkovic on her way to the final four.

But the occasion seemed to get to the 20-year-old, who will no doubt draw some tough lessons from the experience.

After copping a first-set bagel, Crawford was at least able to break Azarenka’s serve twice to show a packed crowd what she’s capable of.

“She hits really big, really hard,” Azarenka said.

“With a little bit more work and variety she has good potential, I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of her.”

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