Azarenka begins in style

 Ever dissatisfied world No 1 Victoria Azarenka began her build-up to the Australian Open with an imposing 6-3, 6-3 victory over big-serving Sabine Lisicki in the Brisbane International second round on Wednesday.

The defending Australian Open champion made light work of the German to set up a quarterfinal clash against qualifier Ksenia Pervak.

"I'm such a picky person that I probably never will be satisfied," Azarenka told reporters.
"That's a good thing because I have a lot more matches to play and I can always improve. But it was pretty good. I felt like the things that I've been working on are there. I'm getting into the competitive groove and I'm happy where I'm at right now,’’ she added.

Azarenka faces a challenge to her top ranking from world No 2 Maria Sharapova and No 3 Serena Williams when the Australian Open begins at Melbourne Park on January 14.
Williams will follow Azarenka on to Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday when she plays fellow countrywoman Sloane Stephens.

Sania-Bethanie in semis

In doubles, India’s Sania Mirza, partnering Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States, defeated second seeds Liezel Huber and Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-3 to reacth the semifinals.
Tomic shocks Djokovic
World No 1 Novak Djokovic suffered a shock loss to Australian Bernard Tomic at the Hopman Cup team event on Wednesday.

Two days after Djokovic sustained a minor injury when a crowd barricade fell into his shin while he was signing autographs, Djokovic was defeated 6-4, 6-4 as Australia took a 1-0 lead. 

However, Djokovic teamed up with Ana Ivanovic to win the decider against Tomic and Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-7(8), 10-8. Earlier, Ivanovic had beaten Barty 6-2, 6-3 to draw level for Serbia.

Results (prefix denotes seedings): Brisbane International:  Men’s singles (second round): 4-Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-2, 4-1 (retd); 5-Kei Nishikori (Jpn) bt Tommy Robredo (Esp) 6-3, 6-3; Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) bt 6-Florian Mayer (Ger) 6-4, 6-2; 3-Gilles Simon (Fra) bt Alejandro Falla (Col) 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5).   

Women’s singles: 1-Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Sabine Lisicki (Ger) 6-3, 6-3; Lesia Tsurenko (Ukr) bt Jarmila Gajdosova (Aus) 1-6, 6-1, 6-4; 4-Angelique Kerber (Ger) bt Monica Puig (Pue) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); Sloane Stephens (US) bt Sofia Arvidsson (Swe) 6-3, 6-4.  

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