Australian Open: Azarenka Holds Off Stephens, Faces Na in Final

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Updated: January 24, 2013

In the space of a few days, the anticipated showdown between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova has become something altogether different. Victoria Azarenka took advantage of the Williams pass given to her by 19-year-old Sloane Stephens and beat Stephens in a tense semifinal, 6-1 6-4. Up 5-3, Azarenka gave away five match points before taking an injury timeout and leaving the court. She returned to close out the match. See the highlights from her post-round interview below. Maria Sharapova looked all but invincible heading into the other semifinal, vs. Li Na. She had given up only nine games in the tournament, and was the overwhelming favorite to win the trophy after Serena Williams’ elimination. Li Na promptly sent her on her way 6-2 6-2, registering more winners from the counterpuncher’s position than the ultra-aggressive Sharapova. Azarenka is in position to defend her title, and Na can validate the French Open championship she earned in 2011.

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