Azarenka, Kuznetsova reach Miami Open final

Miami (Florida), April 1 (IANS) Belarusian Victoria Azarenka and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the Miami Open women’s tennis final, while Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios booked berths in the men’s semis.

The 30-year-old Kuznetsova, who won this hard-court event a decade ago, struggled with both of her ground strokes but managed to gut out a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday, reports Efe.

The 15th-seeded Russian, who pulled off the biggest upset of this year’s event by defeating American World No.1 and top seed Serena Williams in the fourth round, said after Thursday afternoon’s victory that she had fought her way to the final despite not playing her best tennis at any point in the tournament.

Azarenka, meanwhile, used her dominating return game to notch a 6-2, 7-5 victory on Thursday over German No.2 seed and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, who lost her serve seven times throughout the contest.

In the men’s draw, Kyrgios only broke serve once – in the opening game – against Canada’s Milos Raonic, but that was enough for a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory on Thursday.

Next up for the 20-year-old Australian in the semi-final will be Nishikori, who saved five match points late in the third set to edge Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

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