Found January 26, 2012 on In the Tramlines:

Defending champion: Out. Appointed new heiress of women's tennis: Out. The two players that remain are two of the biggest divas on the tour, Belarusan shrieker Victoria Azarenka and Russian(But really Amercian) mega-shrieker Maria Sharapova. It's shame that the shrieking is the only thing I can think of when they play, because the two semifinals on the women's side last night were of the highest quality. Great tennis, from start to finish.

Women's Semifinals

Victoria Azarenka def. Kim Clisters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3

This match had some of the best shotmaking on the women's side I've seen in a long time. Both players' backhands were rock solid and their whippy forehands were fun to watch. Azarenka was able to close out the first set with some great shots. Clijsters had her back against the wall against Li Na in the fourth round, and again in the semifinals. She responded very well, dominating the second set 6-1. Azarenka seemed as if she was saving a bit for the final set, and instead of caving in like he had in the past, she raised her game and played some beautiful points. The length and difficulty of the tournament also seemed to catch up with Clijsters, who commited an absurdly high number of unforced errrors in the third set. Kim kept fighting, but Azarenka stayed steady, kept Kim on the defensive, and watched as her opponent imploded. When she won the final point, Azarenka put her hands to her face in tears of joy. She was going to play in her first major final.

Maria Sharapova def. Petra Kvtiova 6-2, 3-6, 6-4

Petra Kvitova has been appointed as the next big thing in women's tennis. Leading into the semifinal, she hadn't disappointed. In Sharapova, she was playing someone who was where she was only a few years ago. This was a rematch of the 2011 Wimbledon final, in which Kvitova won in straight sets. Sharapova had said as much in the pregame interviews that that final was a major motivational item going into the semifinal, and the first set showed how much Sharapova wanted it. SHe pushed Kvitova around the court and forced errors out of her. Kvitova responded well in the second set, however, and pulled it out. The third set would tell a lot about Sharapova and where she is in her career. She proved she could still win a big match against a younger opponent, and won the deciding set 6-4. It was a great win for Sharapova. For Kvitova, it's a setback, but she's still relatively young and has a lot more time to get better.


Azarenka reaches Aussie Open final

Victoria Azarenka reached her first Grand Slam final and staked a claim for the No. 1 ranking when she beat defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday. The third-seeded Azarenka recovered her composure twice in periods when a resurgent Clijsters seemed to have the upper hand, breaking the veteran Belgian's serve three times in...

Azarenka No. 1, other rankings shift in WTA

Victoria Azarenka's win over Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final on Saturday elevated her to No. 1 and also forced a shift in the top 10 rankings in women's tennis. Azarenka moved from No. 3 to No. 1, overhauling Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who will remain at No. 2 after her semifinal exit in Australia. The 22-year-old Belarusian is the 21st player to hold...

Jon Wertheim: Azarenka steamrolls Sharapova to win first Grand Slam title

Nerves are unpredictable. But in her first Grand Slam final, Victoria Azarenka looked unfazed as she powered to win the Aussie Open and grab the No. 1 rank, writes Jon Wertheim.

Azarenka rolls to Aussie title, ascends to No. 1

Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 Saturday night to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 ranking.

It's gonna be loud

Maria Sharapova to face Victoria Azarenka in an Australian Open final between 2 of tennis' loudest "grunters." is through to her first final. Maria Sharapova, her opponent in Saturday's Australian Open title decider, has been there five times before, and won three.

Azarenka beats Clijsters to reach Aussie Open final

Victoria Azarenka has beaten defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 Thursday to advance to the Australian Open final.
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