Tennis / WTA / Azarenka, Williams Stroll Through to Quarters

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World number one Victoria Azarenka and second-ranked Serena Williams eased into the Qatar Open quarterfinals with dominant third-round victories yesterday.

Williams, the 15-time grand slam champion who could return to the top of the rankings if she wins the tournament, crushed Pole Urszula Radwanska 6-0 6-3.

Belarussian Azarenka, who won last month’s Australian Open, demolished American Christina McHale 6-0 6-0 in just over an hour and Russian third seed Maria Sharapova overpowered Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3 6-3.

“I felt like I came out very focused, with a good mindset and a good game plan,” Azarenka said on the WTA website.

“There were a few close games, but I felt like I was really taking advantage of every opportunity I had and not letting her play her game,” added the top seed who notched the sixth 6-0 6-0 win of her career.

Fourth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska beat former world number one Ana Ivanovic 6-1 7-6 and will next face Caroline Wozniacki, another former world number one, who defeated German Mona Barthel 7-6 6-3.

“I was just trying to get it in and hoping for the best. It was a struggle, but I got through it,” Wozniacki said.

Australian Sam Stosur reached the last eight with a 6-4 7-5 win over Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova and sixth seed Sara Errani knocked out Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 7-5 5-7 6-2. Czech Petra Kvitova completed the quarterfinal lineup after recovering from a slow start to overcome Russian Nadia Petrova 4-6 6-4 6-3.

Belarus Victoria Azarenka returns the returns the ball during her match against Christina McHale of the U.S. the fourth day of the WTA Qatar Ladies Open in Doha, Qatar,Thursday , Feb. 14, 2013.Credit: AP