January 24, (THEWILL) – Victoria Azarenka pulled off a stunning upset at the Australian Open on Tuesday, defeating the highest seed remaining in the tournament, Jessica Pegula, 6-4, 6-1, to reach the semi-finals for the third time in her career.
Despite Pegula’s status as a top seed, she struggled to cope with Azarenka’s strong serving and powerful groundstrokes. Azarenka began the match aggressively, getting the first break of the match and establishing a 2-0 lead.
Despite Pegula’s attempts to fight back, Azarenka was able to close out the first set and take control in the second. If Pegula did not manage to win one game, it could have ended in a bagel as Azarenka finished it dominantly.
This marks the first time Azarenka has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open since winning the tournament in 2013, and her second Grand Slam semi-final in the past 10 seasons, having also reached the semi-finals of the 2020 US Open.
The Belarusian will now face Elena Rybakina, in the semi-finals on Thursday, after Rybakina defeated Jelena Ostapenko, in straight sets. Azarenka expressed mixed emotions about defeating her friend Pegula, saying, “It hurts to beat her because I always want her to do well. But at the same time, I knew I had to play my best tennis.”