Victoria Azarenka has reached the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open and needs just one more win to become the first Belarusian in WTA history to be ranked higher than No.5, where she stands now. She advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3 3-6 6-2 victory over Lucie Safarova, to whom she hadn’t lost a set before, in their five meetings.
Azarenka’s big obstacle will be Julia Goerges, who has come to the tournament with the big title win at Stuttgart, which she reinforced by beating world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the third round this week and then world No.21 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-2 in the quarterfinals, who is ranked six spots higher than Goerges.
Both Azarenka and Goerges are hot players at the moment. In this two month period, Azarenka has won 18 of 20 matches, including titles in Miami and Marbella, while the losses came only because of injuries (retirements in Indian Wells against Wozniacki and in Stuttgart against Goerges). As for Goerges, not long ago, in Charleston, she reached her first Premier quarterfinal, and now she will play her second straight Premier semifinal. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)