Azarenka completes semifinal line-up in Istanbul, secures year-end No.1 ranking

Wilson Blade v7 tennis racquet

Victoria Azarenka joined Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals of the WTA Championships, at the same time clinching the year-end No.1 ranking. The Belarusian recovered from a first-set deficit to beat Li Na, despite the horrible -19 winners-to-unforced errors differential (6/25).

Li started the match with a break and consolidated it for 2-0, but no one expected the situation to unfold that straightforwardly. The Chinese led until 4-2 and even though Azarenka returned to 4-4, Li broke her serve once again and served for the set. But Li likes to give off leads and double faulted to give Azarenka a break back. The Belarusian seized the opportunity, took the set in a tiebreak and finally the match 7-6(4) 6-3, when Li sent a forehand long.

The first semifinal on Saturday is between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, a rematch of the 2012 Wimbledon final, while the second semifinal is a rematch of the 2012 Australian Open final between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Semifinalists time on court: Radwanska 8 hours 4 minutes, Azarenka 6 hours 32 minutes, Sharapova 5 hours 50 minutes and Williams 4 hours 45 minutes. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)

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