Defending Australian Open women’s singles champion Victoria Azarenka has lost all hopes of retaining the 2014 title to Agniesza Radwanska, after a trilling encounter at the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Radwanska’s three-set win against the world number two means the top three seeds at the ongoing Australian Open have all lost out, after Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova both lost out.
The Polish fifth seed, who had lost out in the last eight in her previous three attempts, produced a clinical show of strength, wit and intelligence on her way to seeing off the Belarusian 6-1, 5-7, 6-0, to book a semi-final ticket against Dominika Cibulkova, who beat Simona Halep.
The win ends Azarenka’s 18-match winning streak at Melbourne Park dating back to 2012.
Radwanska batted off nicely and was already 5-0 up early in the first set.
She dominated the match midway through the second set, going one break up, but Azarenka quickly broke back, making her opponent serve to stay in the set.
The Pole hit form again in the third set when Azarenka seemed to be fighting back into the match, producing several exhilarating winners to seal the third set and book her place in tomorrow’s last four.
“She was getting to every ball,” said Azarenka. “She guessed so many of my shots and I felt like at one point I was being too predictable.
“She definitely took advantage of that. She was solid from the baseline, she came in when she needed to, she served well in the important moments. She was just doing everything a little bit better than me.
“I was just watching. I was like a spectator a little bit.”
Radwanska said: “I’m so happy and pleased, especially that I beat one of the best players in the world.
“It was not an easy draw and not an easy quarter-final. I’m very happy that I made my first semi-final here.
“There were a lot of good rallies, amazing points, running forward, backwards, side to side so many times. I was really feeling good on court – I was feeling I could really do everything, trying and fighting for every point, every ball.”
Cibulkova (Svk)  beat Halep (Rom)  6-3 6-0
Cibulkova was too hot for Halep to handle on her way to a career second grand Slam semi-final appearance, five years after her last appearance.
The 20th seed Maria Sharapova-conqueror continued her terrific form against Romania’s Halep, recovering from serving three faults in one game to take the opening set, thanks to two breaks of serve.
Halep could not find her rhythm while the Slovak continued pushing her down to the baseline in the second.
After the 24-year-old broke Halep in the decider, she rolled on to a 6-0 victory, into tomorrow’s semi-final.
“I have experience of these important matches and I knew how to react on court,” said Cibulkova.
“I did everything perfect today. The match against Maria took everything out of me but my fitness is good so I came through.”