Live Commentary: Australian Open quarter-finals - Victoria Azarenka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova - as it happened

Victoria Azarenka shakes the hand of Svetlana Kuznetsova following her quarter-final victory on January 23, 2013
© AP Photos
Live commentary of the third women's quarter-final between Victoria Azarenka and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Defending Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka faced unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third women's quarter-final.

The first set took an hour and 17 minutes, with each point hotly-contested, but it was Azarenka who took a vital late break to take it 7-5.

The second set was more of a procession for the world number one as she turned up the pressure and claimed the win 7-5 6-1.

Read how the action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text commentary.


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12amHello all and thanks for joining us for day two of the Australian Open quarter-finals.

12.02amWe will have Victoria Azarenka against the unseeded Svetlana Kuznetsova from the Rod Laver Arena in around 10 minutes.

12.04amAlso today will be Serena Williams against Sloane Stephens, Jeremy Chardy vs. Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga against Roger Federer.

12.05amAll matches will be on Rod Laver today, so should follow on nicely from one another.

12.07amA reminder of yesterday's action.

12.08amLi Na opened the day against Agnieszka Radwanska, beating the Pole in straight sets.

12.10amThen David Ferrer overcame a two-set deficit to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro in five.

12.11amMaria Sharapova powered past Ekaterina Makarova 6-2 6-2.

12.12amFinally, Novak Djokovic reached the semi-finals in four sets, defeating Tomas Berdych.

12.14amThe players are just finishing their warm-ups and we'll be underway soon in the first of the day's quarters.

12.15amKuznetsova to serve.

12.16amImmediately Azarenka putting all the effort in. Wait, that is why she grunts, right?

Azarenka *0-1 KuznetsovaKuznetsova brings up game point with a superb inside-out forehand but Azarenka fights back to deuce. The 27-year-old gets another couple of chances but Azarenka forces a break point with Kuznetsova hitting long. That too is saved and the game is finally won after more than eight minutes by Kuznetsova.

Azarenka 1-1* KuznetsovaBruising consistency from the Belarusian and Kuznetsova has no answer whatsoever to her first service game. That one too just the minute.

Azarenka *1-2 KuznetsovaThe Russian starts well in the next game to move 30-0 ahead, but lets Azarenka back in with a couple of errors. Azarenka forces deuce with a fine backhand down the line but Kuznetsova manages another, very tight, hold.

12.39amWe've had a number of deuces in this one. Azarenka just can't see off her Russian opponent, who keeps saving game points.

12.43amA sublime improvised drop shot saves another game point for Kuznetsova and this game is now past nine minutes.

12.44amGreat advancement to the net and high half-volley and Azarenka means business racking up another advantage.

12.45amBut it's saved with a booming forehand return. There's nothing in this game and it's over 11 minutes long.

12.47amAnother saved by the Russian, this time with a passing forehand right on the line. I fear this game might be the last thing I ever watch.

Azarenka 1-3* KuznetsovaBREAK! Azarenka goes down 0-15 but recovers to dominate on serve - with a little help from Kuztetsova errors. However, Azarenka overhits a couple and brings it to deuce. Kuznetsova battles hard, and eventually manages the break! First blood Kuznetsova.

12.49amWe're 33 minutes into this match already and have played just four games!

12.51amFrom 40-15 down, Azarenka has battled her way back to deuce. Four games out of five have gone to deuce.

12.53amBreak point Azarenka.

12.54amShe blows it with a forehand into the net. We've had an advantage each now and are back at deuce. Not another 10 minute plus game surely?

Azarenka *1-4 KuznetsovaKuznetsova works another advantage with a good bouncing second serve and wraps up the game with a backhand right into the corner. A big lead now for her in this opener.

12.57amAzarenka just has to hold here or she'll have surrendered the first set and used a lot of energy doing so.

Azarenka 2-4* KuznetsovaThe Belarusian is back to her best in that game. More big serves and good net play get her to 40-15 and, despite a double fault, she holds relatively routinely. She'll face now and must keep attacking the Russian's serve as she has done in every one of Kuznetsova's games so far.

1.01amIt's certainly a battle this one, even if it is lacking somewhat in quality tennis.

1.02amAs expected, Azarenka is attacking and goes up 0-30.

1.03amTwo break points now, following a massive backhand into the corner.

Azarenka *3-4 KuznetsovaBREAK! She finally converts a break point and we're back on serve in this one. Azarenka has turned it up over the last couple of games and is looking the more comfortable out there.

Azarenka 4-4* KuznetsovaThere's wasn't looking to be a great deal of threat to the Azarenka serve in that game, but Kuznetsova got right back into it and pulled back to deuce with a forehand winner right on the edge of the sideline. However, Azarenka just edges the game and levels the set.

1.10amAs a side note, the Azarenka grunting his got to supersonic levels at the moment. It's going on almost until her opponent has returned the shot.

Azarenka *4-5 KuznetsovaI make that Kuznetsova's most comfortable service game of the match. The pressure is now on Azarenka to serve to stay in the set.

1.16amDelightful play from the Russian. She works Azarenka around the court and finished with a deft forehand.

1.17amKuznetsova refusing to lie down in this game. She's just levelled it at 30-30 with a fantastic cross-court forehand.

1.18amAnother deuce follows a textbook Kuznetsova drop shot.

1.19amAzarenka responds with a quite breathtaking volley on the stretch that she guides just over the net.

Azarenka 5-5* KuznetsovaAnother game full of deuces and advantages for Azarenka finally sees her take it and it needed a return into the net from her opponent to make it happen. Looking likely to be a tie break this first set.

Azarenka *6-5 KuznetsovaBREAK! Right on cue, Azarenka turns the screw and forces the break. Her power is telling at the minute and she attacked the Kuznetsova serve to break at the ideal time. She now serves for the match.

1.27amBig game for the Russian now. Can she break back? If not, she'll be a set down after matching her opponent all the way.

1.28amGreat play from Azarenka. She pummels some deep forehands before clipping a drop volley at the net.

1.29amKuznetsova responds with a thunderous forehand past the despairing reach of the Belarusian.

1.31amWe're again at deuce. There have been so many in this match. The Russian is playing some great shots to stay in this set.

Azarenka 7-5* KuznetsovaSET! With set point number three, Azarenka finally makes it pay. She takes the first set after an hour and 17 minutes! Every point had to be earned, but neither player has really been fluent as yet.

1.35amYou feel Kuznetsova can't play much better than she has so far. There have been some good shots, but Azarenka has another gear or two, for sure.

Azarenka 7-5 *1-0 KuznetsovaBREAK! The Russian jolted her ankle in that one. It looks a nasty twist! She lost her opening service game to love, however, and there's an ominous feel about this.

1.40amKuznetsova battled back to 15-40, but puts a backhand wide.

Azarenka 7-5 1-1* KuznetsovaBREAK! However, Azarenka follows suit on her forehand and the Russian breaks right back. Brilliant response and she doesn't seem to be too affected by the injury.

1.43amNo-one wants to hold their serve! Azarenka now goes 15-40 up after Kuznetsova nets.

Azarenka 7-5 *2-1 KuznetsovaBREAK! Every game so far has been a break in this set. This time the Russian goes long and hands the lead back to her opponent. Can Azarenka consolidate this one?

1.46amTwo sloppy shots from Kuznetsova gift Azarenka a 30-0 lead.

Azarenka 7-5 3-1* KuznetsovaVery comfortable hold from the reigning champ, which will be a worrying sign for Kuznetsova's camp. The world number one is closing in on victory.

1.49amThey're level shot for shot in this one. It's 30-30 as Azarenka hunts that double break.

Azarenka 7-5 *4-1 KuznetsovaBREAK! After a real battle in that one Kuznetsova serves a double fault. It's a double Azarenka break and there won't be long left in this match.

1.58amKuznetsova has fought back here from 40-15 to deuce. All credit to her for getting back in the game when she could easily have given it up.

Azarenka 7-5 5-1* KuznetsovaDespite that, the champion takes the game and requires just one more now for a place in the semi-finals.

Azarenka 7-5 6-1 KuznetsovaGAME, SET AND MATCH! There's not much resistance there, however, on her own serve from Kuznetsova and Azarenka takes the win with some lovely shots, including a calm volley. She moves on to face Williams or Stephens.

2.03amThanks for joining me for this one. I'll be covering said Williams vs. Stephens match, which is up next on Rod Laver. See you there.

Britain's Laura Robson hits a backhand return in the first round of the  Australian Open tennis championship on January 15, 2013
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