Azarenka returns to the “eight” after 7 years

Melbourne (Reuters)

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka qualified for the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time after an absence of seven years, as she outperformed China’s Zhou Lin 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday.
The match ended in the early hours of Monday morning local time in Melbourne.
Azarenka, the twice Melbourne champion, started modestly and dropped the opening set, but recovered to level and reach a deciding set in the fourth-round match.
Parity was the master of the situation in the third set, and Azarenka owned the serve after advancing 5-4, before she rose up after being late 40-14 and settled the victory with a backhand kick.
Azarenka, 33, will play third-seeded American Jessica Pegula for a spot in the semi-finals.
“I feel completely relaxed,” said 24th seed Azarenka in a crowded Rod Laver Arena.
And she added, “I am happy to adapt to everything, take advantage of opportunities and succeed. I had some close matches this year that were not in my favor, so I am very proud of myself.”

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