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Next up for Azarenka is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who entered the season’s first major ranked No. 75 but has won titles at the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open.

Kuznetsova advanced after a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win over Caroline Wozniacki, a former No. 1-player who will now slip out of the top 10.

The 27-year-old Kuznetsova said she noticed a difference in the temperment of Azarenka, who was prone in the past to hot-headed outbursts on court.

“She’s changed and just become so stable,” said Kuznetsova. “I think she just got calmer. She’s consistent.”

Going into the match feeling like the underdog gives Kuznetsova added confidence, she said.

“She’s No. 1. I have nothing to lose. She has all the pressure,” she said. “I’ve got the game to give her some problems, and I will just do my best and try to enjoy it.”

Azarenka smiled when told her opponent had complimented her composure.

“I’m always going to be an emotional player,” she said, adding that now she’s learning how to pick the right reaction for each point.

“Sometimes you need to be more aggressive … to pump yourself up,” Azarenka said. “Sometimes you just need to relax and breathe.”