Surprise Australian Open loser Victoria Azarenka says she didn’t commit enough to extend her stay in Melbourne.
The two-time champion bowed out to world No.7 Angelique Kerber 6-3 7-5 on Wednesday, despite a monstrous record against the German and imperious form at Melbourne Park.
Azarenka dropped just 11 games before the quarter-final loss and was scything a path towards a seemingly inevitable meeting with Serena Williams in the final.
But Kerber ripped up the script to beat the Belarusian for the first time in seven meetings, leaving Azarenka gasping for air.
“I created a lot of opportunities, but then I (did not do) enough on my opportunities. I didn’t take them,” she said.
“That’s not going to win matches in quarter-finals. You have to bring it, and I didn’t.
“I just didn’t commit enough, and that’s on me.”
Perhaps never has a 14th seed entered a grand slam with such expectation as the 26-year-old former world No.1.
Azarenka was the bookmakers’ second favourite pre-tournament behind only Williams off the back of a hot run of form and the world No.1’s time away from the game.
Against Kerber, Azarenka started slowly but looked to have dug herself out of a hole at 40-love when serving for the second set at 5-2.
Instead, the German fought back to win the game, restricting Azarenka to just eight more points for the match as she wrapped up the contest in straight sets.
“I was thinking about it right now. If there is something I could have done different, if there is something I’ve done wrong,” Azarenka said.
“It was a little bit 10 per cent not enough of everything.
“My footwork didn’t have enough.
“My shots didn’t have enough.
“I did a little bit too many unforced errors in the key moments.
“Mentally I didn’t commit myself enough today. I didn’t push myself into making a difference.”
Kerber will play shock semi-finalist Johanna Konta on Thursday for a place in Saturday’s final.