- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

KEY BISCAYNE, FLA. (AP) - Victoria Azarenka kept waving clenched fists during her semifinal at the Sony Ericsson Open, as if there was any doubt she meant business.

Celebrating every important point she won, the 19-year-old Azarenka earned her biggest victory yet Thursday afternoon by beating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Azarenka will play for the title Saturday against the winner of the night semifinal between Serena and Venus Williams.

“It’s the first final in such a big tournament for me,” Azarenka said. “It’s the biggest moment, I would say, in my career. It’s all kind of an experience for me. It’s a new thing that I’m going to be introduced to on how to handle.”

Azarenka closed out the victory on her fourth match point when Kuznetsova netted a backhand to end the 2-hour, 40-minute endurance test played in 85-degree sunshine.

“I’m just so happy that I found energy in that fighting moment,” Azarenka said. “That was kind of adrenaline, I would say, on the last games.”

Azarenka is from Belarus but trains in Scottsdale, Ariz. She is ranked a career-best 10th after reaching the semifinals at Indian Wells two weeks ago.


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