Pan Pacific Open: Victoria Azarenka thrashes Australia's Ashleigh Barty to reach quarter-finals; Barbora Strycova wins

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka thrashed Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Pan Pacific Open quarter-finals on Thursday as she seeks a return to the top after giving birth in late 2016

Agence France-Presse September 20, 2018 15:11:17 IST
Pan Pacific Open: Victoria Azarenka thrashes Australia's Ashleigh Barty to reach quarter-finals; Barbora Strycova wins

Tokyo: Former world number one Victoria Azarenka thrashed Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Pan Pacific Open quarter-finals on Thursday as she seeks a return to the top after giving birth in late 2016.

Pan Pacific Open Victoria Azarenka thrashes Australias Ashleigh Barty to reach quarterfinals Barbora Strycova wins

File image of Victria Azarenka. Twitter@@MubadalaSVC

The Belarusian, who slipped further down the rankings as a result of a lengthy custody battle over baby Leo, will face either top seed Caroline Wozniacki, who is chasing a hat-trick of Tokyo titles, or Italy's Camila Giorgi in the last eight.

Wildcard Azarenka, currently 63rd on the women's WTA rankings, broke for 4-3 with a dipping backhand and clinched the opening set with a fizzing pass that landed on Barty's shoelaces, forcing the seventh seed to dump a forehand into the net.

Azarenka raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set and the two-time Australian Open champion delivered the coup de grace by jamming up Barty with a vicious kick serve into the ribcage on her second match point.

"That makes me feel a little old, but I'm happy to be here," said Azarenka, 29, when informed she had reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012.

"Obviously it's been a while since I've played, I'm just trying to look day by day and see what happens. But I'm definitely enjoying my time on court these days."

Earlier, Czech Barbora Strycova won a tempestuous encounter with Estonia's Anett Kontaveit 7-6, 3-6, 7-5 to set up a quarter-final against Japan's newly crowned US Open champion Naomi Osaka.

The Olympic doubles bronze medallist took the first-set tiebreak 7-5 but both players screamed in frustration at their wastefulness in a contest that lasted well over three hours.

Having used all her challenges, Strycova huffily staged a sit-down protest after Kontaveit saved one of eight match points with a passing shot that replays showed missed the line by some margin.

But the Czech returned to her task and closed out the match when Kontaveit whiffed a drive-volley far beyond the baseline.

"I know I will have to play very well to beat Naomi," said Strycova.

"She's a star -- she's just won a Grand Slam, which was such a huge success for her. Playing in Japan the support will be for her but I'll try my best and see what happens."

Updated Date:

also read

In the glare of the spotlight: What Naomi Osaka's stand, French Open's response tells us about pressures facing young sportspersons
Lifestyle

In the glare of the spotlight: What Naomi Osaka's stand, French Open's response tells us about pressures facing young sportspersons

We can’t treat young vulnerable people as commodities, telling them to just follow the rules and not to express their concerns.

French Open organisers defend 'pragmatic' stance in dealing with Naomi Osaka situation
Sports

French Open organisers defend 'pragmatic' stance in dealing with Naomi Osaka situation

French Open organisers insisted they tried to engage with Naomi Osaka several times before she decided to withdraw from the clay-court Grand Slam.

French Open 2021: Victoria Azarenka criticises Roland Garros, says tournament lacks true gender equality
Sports

French Open 2021: Victoria Azarenka criticises Roland Garros, says tournament lacks true gender equality

Azarenka again took aim at officials following her defeat by Pavlyuchenkova, when asked about the scheduling of the new night sessions —with six of the seven so far featuring men's matches.