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Miami Open: Victoria Azarenka sets up semi-final with Elena Rybakina, Danielle Collins through

By primenewsghana
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Victoria Azarenka continued her bid for a fourth Miami Open title with victory over Yulia Putintseva to set up a semi-final encounter with Elena Rybakina.

The Belarusian 27th seed, who won her last title at the event in 2016, needed almost three hours to claim a 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-3 win against Putintseva.

Fourth seed Rybakina beat Greek eighth seed Maria Sakkari 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.

On the other side of the draw, American Danielle Collins beat French 23rd seed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-2 on Wednesday.

Former Australian Open runner-up Collins, 30, is planning to retire from the WTA Tour at the end of the season.

She is one more win away from reaching her first final since losing to Ashleigh Barty at Melbourne Park in 2022.

Collins will face Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, who backed up her win against world number one Iga Swiatek with a hard-fought victory against fifth seed Jessica Pegula.

Alexandrova, the 14th seed, claimed the decisive break to go 5-4 up in the third set before serving out the victory to reach just her second WTA 1,000 event semi-final.

"This one was incredible," Alexandrova said.

"It was so difficult to play this match to the end and win. It's the biggest achievement for me on this court and semi-final is a great bonus."

Azarenka overcomes Putintseva - and power outage

Two-time major champion Azarenka reached the Miami semi-finals for a fifth time after overcoming Putintseva - and a 45-minute stoppage due to a power outage.

The delay in the first set was caused by the power going out on the electronic line-calling system and when the match resumed, 34-year-old Azarenka saved three set points before clinching the tie-break.

Unseeded Kazakh Putintseva dominated the second set, but dropped serve twice in the third to allow Azarenka, who defeated Britain's Katie Boulter in the fourth round, to reach a first semi-final in Miami since 2018.

Rybakina, who is the highest ranked women's player remaining in the tournament, lost in last year's final to the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion had two match points in the second set on Tuesday but Sakkari fought back and won the tiebreaker to force a decider.

A single break of serve in the third set was enough for Rybakina to wrap up the victory after a gruelling two hours and 48 minutes.

"I have no words because I'm so tired but I'm really happy with the win," Rybakina, 24, said.