Sub-par Clijsters exits

Sub-par Clijsters exits

Azarenka eases past Belgian; Lee-Hesh in semifinals

Azarenka, whose career breakthrough came with her win here at Key Biscayne in 2009, ran out 6-3, 6-3 winner against the 2010 champion Clijsters.

The eighth-ranked Azarenka took full advantage of a below-par display from Clijsters who made 44 unforced errors, a day after she was pushed to a third set tie-break by Ana Ivanovic.

Azarenka, playing good all-round tennis, had a spring in her step on a venue where she first emerged as a player to watch on the tour. 

Azarenka will face Russian world number three Vera Zvonareva in the semifinals on Thursday after she beat Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-3.

The Russian took advantage of some mediocre serves from her opponent to go up 6-5 in the first set and although Radwanska rallied in the next game to go up 30-0 against serve, Zvonareva regained her composure to wrap up the first set.
Russian Maria Sharapova will face emerging German talent Andrea Petkovic in Thursday’s other semifinal.

Fish on top

Mardy Fish replaced Andy Roddick as the top-ranked American after beating Spain’s David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 on Wednesday to move into the semifinals in the men’s event. Fish will play world number two Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at Key Biscayne after the Serb beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2 for his 24th successive win, a run stretching back to last year.

Fish, currently ranked 15th, will formally overtake his friend and world number eight Roddick when the ATP world rankings are updated next week.

Djokovic was pumped up throughout his win over Anderson and he had to work hard against the big-serving South African, who produced four aces.  Nonetheless, the Serb produced the big shots when it mattered most -- breaking early in both sets.

Djokovic has won all 22 matches he has played this year and his last defeat was against Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour finals in London on November 27.

Paes-Bhupathi in semis

India’s Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi progressed while compatriot Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi faltered in the men’s doubles quarterfinal.

The third-seeded Paes and Bhupathi overcame sixth seeds Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 10-7.

In the semifinals, the ‘Indian Express’ will meet the unseeded Oliver Marach of Austria and Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who knocked out No 7 seeds Bopanna and Qureshi 6-4, 7-6 (10-8).