Azarenka continues unbeaten run in 2013

MICHAEL CASEY
Last updated 08:29 15/02/2013
Victoria Azarenka
Reuters
STREAK GOES ON: Victoria Azarenka has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open.

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Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka extended her unbeaten run in 2013 to 11 matches by crushing Christine McHale of the United States 6-0, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open.

Azarenka broke three times in each set on the back of her powerful forehand and dominant net play. She twice saved break points in the second set and closed it out when McHale served three of her five double faults in the last game.

"I felt like I came out very focused and really with a good mindset, with a good game plan," said Azarenka, who had twice as many winners as errors and won 83 per cent of points on first serve.

"There were a few close games and I felt like I was really taking advantage of every opportunity I had, which didn't allow her to play her game."

Azarenka has been on a roll before, winning 26 straight matches to begin 2012, but she isn't looking too far ahead. After all, the Belarusian could lose her No 1 ranking to Williams later this week despite winning her second straight title at Rod Laver Arena last month.

"There is no such thing as being really unstoppable because sooner or later it's going happen to everybody," she said of losing.

"But I'm here to try and win every match I go out on court. That's the mentality. And the numbers of how many will be, it just depends of doing the best job as possible every single day and giving your best. That's the only thing I can ask for myself."

Azarenka was joined in the last eight by Agnieszka Radwanska, former No 1 Caroline Wozniacki and 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur. Radwanska beat an error-prone Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 7-6 (6), Wozniacki downed Mona Barthel of Germany 7-6 (6), 6-3 and Stosur edged out Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5.

Serena Williams also eased through with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Pole Urzula Radwanska while Maria Sharapova overpowers Czech Klara Zakapalova 6-3, 6-3.

The fourth-ranked Radwanska made quick work of Ivanovic, the former No 1 from Serbia, in the first set, breaking four times amid windy conditions. Ivanovic didn't help her own cause, committing 21 unforced errors and only landing 63 per cent of first serves.

"She really start to play much better in the second set, and I think she didn't make any easy mistakes," said Radwanska, who improved to 15-1 this year after winning tournaments in Sydney and Auckland and reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals.

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"I really need to just play my game. She didn't give me any free points in the second set. It was really close."

Wind also played havoc for Wozniacki and Barthel. The first set swung back and forth, but the Dane took control in the second set by breaking twice to lead 5-1.

"It wasn't great tennis out there today, the wind was a huge factor," Wozniacki said.

- AP

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