- Associated Press - Thursday, January 26, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Victoria Azarenka has beaten defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 Thursday to advance to the Australian Open final.

Azarenka will play in her first Grand Slam final in her 25th major and will take on the winner of Thursday’s later semifinal between Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.

Azarenka, Sharapova or Kvitova will take over the No. 1 ranking vacated by Caroline Wozniacki following Wozniacki’s loss to the 11th-seeded Clijsters in the quarterfinals at Melboune Park.

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