Top seed Victoria Azarenka was the first to advance to the China Open semifinals, ending the impressive week of world No.69 Romina Oprandi, who took out Urszula Radwanska, Camila Giorgi and seed No.11 Ana Ivanovic en route to the quarters. It took Azarenka just 55 minutes to win 6-2 6-0, converting all six of her break points. Azarenka has been in control all week, she has not lost a set yet and only against Sabine Lisicki she had a less straightforward match, but was never troubled.
In the second quarterfinal of the day, surprisingly, Maria Sharapova lost no games to Angelique Kerber, leader in match wins this season, and to add to the shock factor, Kerber retired trailing 6-0 3-0, even though there was no apparent sign of injury or illness. In the first set, Kerber hit 8 winners and 5 unforced errors and yet she was bageled. Thanks to Chris Skelton’s amazing stats on Twitter, we learn that since leading Li Na 6-1 3-1 in Cincinnati, Kerber has lost 32 of her last 35 games against opponents with single-digit rankings.
Li Na secured the eighth and final berth at the WTA Championships by defeating defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-2 and setting up a China Open semifinal meeting with Sharapova. Azarenka’s next opponent will be the winner of the match between Marion Bartoli and Carla Suarez Navarro. (photos: sr_cranks)