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Azarenka beats ‘fears of failing’ for first Melbourne semi in 10 years

Melbourne: Victoria Azarenka reached her first Australian Open semi-final since successful the title in 2013, then opened up Tuesday about overcoming “anxiousness” and “fears of failing” on courtroom.

The Belarusian, who gained back-to-back Australian Opens in 2012 and 2013, knocked out third seed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-1 on Tuesday.

The twenty fourth seed outlasted her American opponent in a marathon 64-minute first set earlier than operating away with the second to arrange a last-four encounter towards Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina at Melbourne Park.

Requested about her battles with nerves and anxiousness, Azarenka detailed what she had been by means of in recent times and the way it had held her again from successful one other main.
“I don’t suppose you recognise it immediately. I feel it builds up till you hit sort of a fairly dangerous spot the place nothing sort of is sensible,” she informed reporters.

“You are feeling sort of misplaced. I used to be on the level the place I couldn’t discover something that I be ok with myself, not like even one sentence.”

Requested what her largest worries had been, Azarenka gave a blunt reply.

“Fears of failing is a giant one. To not have the ability to do what I wish to do,” she stated. “I’ve had panic assaults earlier than.”

The Belarusian stated she now has a course of to manage when the nerves rear up, and she or he has lower a noticeably calmer determine at Melbourne Park this yr.

“I sort of tried to take it extra easy. Type of working by means of it,” stated the 33-year-old Azarenka.

“I’m fairly joyful that the method that I’m going by means of makes me really feel assured about myself, joyful about myself, and helps me to be extra open, be extra accepting, be compassionate.

“‘Compassionate’ was a really laborious phrase for me to grasp.”

Pegula was in her third Australian Open quarter-final and had by no means reached the semi-finals of a Slam in 4 earlier makes an attempt, failing to win a set in any of them.
It was a sorry statistic that was to be prolonged below the roof at Rod Laver Area.

“Effectively, it hurts to beat her as a result of I all the time need her to do nicely,” stated Azarenka, who’s shut mates with Pegula.

“Right this moment I knew I’ve to play quick, I’ve to not give her alternative to step in, I’ve to combine it up as a result of for those who don’t there’s no person higher than Jess, she simply doesn’t miss.”

Pegula was instantly put below the pump by the relentless groundstrokes of her opponent.

“I feel she did precisely what she wished to do,” a downcast Pegula informed reporters.

“She was simply executing it I really feel fairly nicely tonight. Hitting the ball deep, taking it early, altering the route on the ball, doing issues that I often love to do to folks.”

Azarenka sped into an early 3-0 lead then compelled Pegula to save lots of six break factors in an attritional 10-minute fourth sport. She saved two set factors on her serve to get to 3-5, two extra within the subsequent sport, broke again to 4-5 however ultimately succumbed after 64 relentlessly bodily minutes.

Early breaks had been exchanged within the second set earlier than Azarenka made the decisive transfer.

She broke for 3-1 and held her personal service sport, with an more and more annoyed Pegula complaining to her participant’s field.

“I don’t know what to do. The ball’s not going wherever,” she stated.

Serving for the match, Azarenka introduced up two match factors however solely wanted one as she powered by means of in 1hr 33min.

She stated she was “excited” to face the “massive problem” of getting previous Wimbledon champion Rybakina to achieve the ultimate.

“She’s an unbelievable participant,” stated Azarenka.

“Her rating clearly doesn’t inform the total story.

“She’s very highly effective. Huge serve. She’s within the semi-final, so she’s clearly taking part in superb.

“It’s going to be a giant problem. I’m enthusiastic about that.”




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