Two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka returned to the semifinals of the competition for the first time in a decade after outlasting American Jessica Pegula at Rod Laver Arena.
Azarenka last reached the semis at Melbourne Park during her defence of the title in 2013 while her last major semifinal was at US Open in 2020.
The 33-year-old’s resurgence continued with her 6-4,6-1 win over Pegula who once failed to overcome her struggle in the latter stages of the tournament despite her favourable odds. With Iga Swiatek, Maria Sakkari, Caroline Garcia and Ons Jabeur all gone, Pegula had a gilt-edged opportunity this year to add a grand slam to her title collection but came up short once again.
In a blink of an eye, Azarenka raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set before the highest seed left in the women’s draw finally held serve.
The American finally found her rhythm playing closer to the baseline and controlling the rallies to break back before Azarenka found another gear to move ahead in the contest before both players failed to hold serve in the next.
But it was the former world number one who took the decisive lead and closed out the match to reach the semifinal.
With Pegula in her rearview mirror, Azarenka will be hoping to replicate the same heroics against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina when the two meet for a place in the Australian Open final.