NEW YORK – Top seed Victoria Azarenka beat defending champion Sam Stosur 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-5) to reach the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time today.
The Belarusian took the first set in 30 minutes before Stosur started firing winners at will to level the match.
Stosur overcame two breaks of serve to take the third set into a tie-break but was unable to recover from 4-0 down and lost in two hours and 23 minutes.
Azarenka plays either Maria Sharapova or Marion Bartoli next.
Eleventh seed Bartoli led 2006 champion Sharapova 4-0 in the first set when the match was postponed until tomorrow because of rain.
The result means 23-year-old Azarenka is guaranteed to be world number one at the end of the tournament.
The Belarusian had dropped only 10 games on her way to the last eight and was facing a player she had not dropped a set against in six previous meetings.
Australian Stosur made the worst possible start by dropping her serve and was 3-0 down when a heavy rain shower forced the players off court for more than an hour.
After the resumption Stosur continued to make too many unforced errors and an errant backhand handed the set to Azarenka.
Seventh seed Stosur broke her opponent’s serve for the first time early in the second and another break in the seventh game was enough to force a deciding set.
Having recovered from two breaks of serve, Stosur had a break point at 5-5 only for her rival to come up with an ace.
And having lost the first four points of the tie-break, and despite some nervous moments for Azarenka, Stosur’s hold on the title eventually came to an end.