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Defending Champion Victoria Azarenka Beats Sloane Stephens, Through to Final

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23:  Sloane Stephens of the United States celebrates winning her Quarterfinal match against Serena Williams of the United States during day ten of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIJanuary 23, 2013

2013 Australian Open Women's Semifinal



Victoria Azarenka [1] beat Sloane Stephens [29]: 6-1, 6-1



She might have taken six match points to do it, but defending champion Victoria Azarenka booked her place in the final once more with a win against American Sloane Stephens.

After simply dominating Stephens 6-1 in the opening set, Azarenka appeared to have the match all but won when she served for the match leading 5-3 in the second. However, even after having five match points, she could not break Stephens, who broke the World No. 1 to bring it back to 5-4.

Azarenka would then leave the court in dramatic circumstances to have two injury timeouts for an ankle injury sustained in the fifth game of the second set. 

The Belarussian also said after the match that she was suffering some mental fatigue and heat exhaustion as temperatures sky-rocketed on court.

In the end, she would break Stephens' serve in the following game, and would go on to win the match 6-4 and move through to the 2013 Australian Open final, where she will face China's Li Na, who beat Maria Sharapova earlier in the afternoon.

The defending champion Azarenka will try and repeat her 2012 success early Saturday morning, with the match scheduled to commence at around 1:30 a.m. ET.

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