Victoria Azarenka proved to be too good for Jessica Pegula in their quarter-final match at the Australian Open on Tuesday evening. The 24th seed upset the third-seeded American 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 37 minutes. Azarenka had 17 winners to Pegula’s 19.
But the 31 unforced errors the higher-ranked player hit became her undoing even as Azarenka finished the match with 20 unforced errors. Pegula’s serve also came under constant pressure and almost every other service game of hers saw her face a break point.
In total, Pegula faced 13 break points of which she saved eight. Meanwhile, Azarenka saved two of the four break points she faced.
Australian Open: Where does Victoria Azarenka go from here?
In both sets, Azarenka broke Pegula in her first service game to go up 2-0.
Of the two players, Azarenka was able to use almost the entirety of the court to her advantage, especially finding angles to move her opponent out of place and trouble her. Pegula’s decision to wait for the ball to come to her instead of attacking it saw her commit more mistakes.
In the first set, Pegula did well to stay with Azarenka despite losing ground early on. She saved three break points in the fourth game to put herself on the scoreboard and even broke Azarenka’s serve when the latter served for the set in the ninth game.
However, her own serve let her down while she tried to level the set at five-all and she lost the set. The only game the 28-year-old won in the second set came off a break on Azarenka’s serve in the third game. For the rest of the match, her older-by-five-years opponent didn’t miss much and brought an end to the proceedings swiftly while serving for the match in the seventh game.
This is the first Australian Open semi-final in a decade’s time for Victoria Azarenka. The last two times the former world no. 1 made it to the semis at the Major, she won the title (2012-13). Incidentally, Azarenka and her semi-final rival, Elena Rybakina are the only two Major champions remaining in the women’s draw.
Meanwhile, following Jessica Pegula’s exit, curtains came down for the women’s singles campaign Down Under. Photo Credit: WTA Insider