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Garcia destroys Azarenka

Caroline Garcia whoops it up after her 6-3-6-4 victory over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the WTA1000 Guadalajara Open. | ULISES RUIZ/agence france-presse

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AFP) — France’s Caroline Garcia overpowered Victoria Azarenka in straight sets to reach the semifinals of the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open on Thursday.

Third-seed Garcia was always in control against her 10th-seeded opponent from Belarus, winning 6-3, 6-4 in 1hr 37min.

The 29-year-old Frenchwoman will face Maria Sakkari in the last four on Friday after the second seed from Greece eased past Colombia’s Emiliana Arango 6-3, 6-4.

Garcia, who is chasing the 12th title of her career, used her powerful serve to gain the upper hand on Azarenka, slamming down 10 aces during the match.

Garcia was also able to save no fewer than 11 break points to deny Azarenka any chance of an opening.

“It’s always tricky,” Garcia said.

“She had a lot of break point opportunities, but I served really well at those points, so I guess I have to thank my serve.”

The win ensured that Garcia, the world No. 11, will move into the top 10 at the end of this tournament.

In other quarterfinal action on Thursday, former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin’s recent resurgence continued as she overpowered 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 to reach the last four.

Kenin, 24, has gradually worked her way back up the rankings after tumbling to 426th in the world last year following a slew of injuries and upheaval in her coaching set-up.

She has won 14 of her last 17 matches on the WTA Tour since July, and is poised to climb back into the top 30 after this tournament.

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