Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Azarenka Ousts Defending Champion

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Azarenka Ousts Defending Champion

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Victoria Azarenka kept chiding herself: "Don't be a chicken."

So when she faced a break point against the defending U.S. Open champion late in the final set, Azarenka didn't care that she hadn't hit an ace all day. She knocked a booming serve down the middle, the ball barely clipping the line out of Sam Stosur's reach.

Pushed to the limit, the world's top-ranked player hung tough in Tuesday's quarterfinals for a victory in a third-set tiebreaker.

"When you're facing a break point, you don't feel like you're going to hope for a mistake," Azarenka said. "You have to make it happen. You have to change the momentum. You have to create something that will surprise her. [She] has the momentum going; she's feeling confident. She has a chance. I had to come up and be strong.

"So I was like, 'OK. Let's do it. If I miss it, I miss it.' "

Azarenka eked out a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) win in 2 hours, 23 minutes - - not including an early 76-minute rain delay. She had never lost even a set to the Australian in six previous meetings, but Stosur rallied time and again after a lopsided first set.

"I enjoy the fight," Azarenka said. "I enjoy that struggle, that pain that we go through, that incredible moment that you feel relieved after you gave it all in every point you had."

The rain returned soon after she closed out the win, wreaking havoc on the match that will determine Azarenka's semifinal opponent. Maria Sharapova and Marion Bartoli waited around for more than an hour before starting their quarterfinal, with Bartoli leading 4-0 when the skies opened up again.

The completion of the match was eventually postponed until today.

Andy Roddick's fourth-round match against Juan Martin del Potro also was suspended because of rain and is scheduled to resume today. Play was halted right after Roddick went ahead 1-0 in a first-set tiebreaker.

The seventh-seeded Stosur came back from down a break twice in the third set. She had a chance to go up a break at 5-5 when Azarenka hit that lone ace. …

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