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Clijsters vs. Azarenka: Score, Recap, Highlights from Australian Open Semifinal

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26:  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her semifinal match against Kim Clijsters of Belgium during day eleven of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Luis BatlleContributor IJanuary 26, 2012

Women's Semifinal Recap

The veteran talent has now been taken down.

In what was a three-set thriller at Melbourne, No. 3-seed Victoria Azarenka would edge out No. 11-seed Kim Clijsters for a spot for the final. Azarenka would take the match 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.

It was simply a match in which the younger, talented Azarenka would get the best of veteran Clijsters in arguably the most enticing matchup to grace the 2012 Australian Open.

In what might have been her last time playing at the Australian Open, Clijsters was able to fight off four match points throughout the tournament and a one-set deficit against Azarenka in a match that went down to the wire.

Azarenka proved to be on top of her game in the win, hitting difficult shots and dictating the points to her advantage. Her placement with her forehand shots was critical in her ability to beat Clijsters in the end.

To her credit, Clijsters was fighting off the attack of Azarenka and dominated her in the second set. Clijsters was able to capitalize on her break point opportunities, which would eventually work into Azarenka's hands instead in the third set.

Azarenka now enters her first final of her young career, hoping to capitalize against the winner of the Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova semifinal.

 

What's at Stake in the Australian Open Final

Victoria Azarenka will enjoy the spotlight, as it will be the first Grand Slam final of her career.

Yet what makes this match all the more significant for Azarenka is that a win would give her the No. 1 ranking in women's tennis.

Azarenka now awaits the winner of the Sharapova, Kvitova semifinal. All three players remaining will earn a No. 1 ranking with a win in this tournament, which means it will be anything but a walk in the park for the Belarus star.

Sharapova will hope to get revenge in her matchup against Kvitova, after losing to her in the 2011 Wimbledon final.

Expect the final to be an intense, hard-fought one, as each of the three players remaining will be hoping to be the No. 1 seed when it's all said and done.

 

Top statistics and Facts of the Semifinals Match

*Clijsters was just 8-of-14 at the net in the loss

*Azarenka, Kvitova and Sharapova all fight for a No. 1 ranking in this Aussie Open final

*Azarenka boasted a 59 percent winning percentage on her first serve...Clijsters won just 41 percent in that final set

*Clijsters committed 21 of her 44 unforced errors in the third and final set, a stat that ultimately lost her this semifinal match

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