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U.S. Open: Victoria Azarenka rallies to defeat Ana Ivanovic

September 03, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Victoria Azarenka, left, and Ana Ivanovic meet at the net after their match.
Victoria Azarenka, left, and Ana Ivanovic meet at the net after their match. (Elsa Hasch / Getty Images )

NEW YORK---Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka stayed on track to reach the U.S. Open finals Tuesday morning with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback win over 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic in a fourth-round match.

All the other women who play Tuesday are in quarterfinal matches, but it was decided Monday when it rained during the day that this match would be pushed back a day.

Later tonight top-seeded Serena Williams will play 18th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Azarenka and Ivanovic both struggled to hold serve and tried other ways to win points, especially employing the drop shot. Each time it happened the opponent seemed flummoxed. Ivanovic celebrated after almost every point she won, even if it was on an Azarenka mistake -- a backhand wide or a forehand into the net.

Once again Azarenka used the drop shot on break point in the fourth game of the final set to take a 3-1 lead.  But Ivanovic, who did a pirouette after every point she won in the game, broke right back when Azarenka doubled-faulted on what would have been the first of three break points and got the game back on serve at 3-2.

In the fifth game, Azarenka started to get angry with herself, yelling and gesturing, and when Ivanovic, once a French Open champion and a former No. 1, held in the sixth game despite a double-fault on a game point. She did a double fist pump as Azarenka swiped at the ground in anger with her racket. That game made it 3-3 in the final set.

 Azarenka seemed to turn some of that anger into positive energy. She earned triple break point. Ivanovic saved two but couldn't save the third, and as Azarenka yelled, "Come on!" Ivanovic was smashing her racket on the ground in anger so hard that she seemed to hurt her hand. Azarenka had a 5-3 lead.

With a punch of a forehand pass up the line, Azarenka earned her first match point. But she wasted it with a backhand error. On a second, Ivanovic returned Azarenka's serve with a wild backhand return to get back to deuce. Azarenka earned a match point, her second, but she put an easy backhand into the net.

And, finally, Azarenka couldn't serve out the match. Ivanovic got the break and pulled within 4-5 in the final set of a match well into the second hour.

In the final game, Azarenka earned her third match point off a wild backhand but saved it with a wide kick serve and a forehand winner for deuce. Azarenka got a fourth match point when Ivanovic dumped an easy forehand into the net. And finally, Azarenka won it when Ivanovic put yet another forehand into the net.

Azarenka even applauded Ivanovic. Azarenka will play Daniela Hantuchova in the quarterfinals.

"Ana came out firing," Azarenka said. "I felt out of place. I had to wake up in the second set. I had to fight for the points. In the second set I felt I was more focused, more determined."

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