MELBOURNE: Third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska became the first women through to the Australian Open quarter-finals after crushing victories on Sunday.
Azarenka defeated Czech Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-2 before Radwanska brushed aside Germany’s Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-1. The two winners will face each other in the last eight.
Azarenka has dropped only 12 games in her four matches and was quickly into her stride against her 46th-ranked opponent, breaking twice in the first set.
She maintained her firm grip on the contest in the second set, again breaking twice to wrap up the match in 1hr 17mins.
The 22-year-old, who is searching for her first grand slam title, did not face any break points against her serve until the final game of the match, but managed to serve out for victory.
Azarenka, who is in contention to secure the number one ranking after the Australian Open, said she felt full of confidence after her win in Sydney earlier this month, which means she is still unbeaten this year.
“Of course I’d be a liar if I said I don’t care about it but it’s a little bit in the back of my mind,” she said of her chances of reaching the top spot.
Azarenka’s run to the quarter-finals equals her best result at the season’s opening grand slam, which she achieved in 2010.
Eighth seed Radwanska, 22, needed just 54 minutes to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second year in a row. She made just three unforced errors in the match as opposed to 27 from Goerges.
Radwanska had a slow start to the tournament when she took three sets to defeat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the first round. But she has now won her past three matches for the loss of just 10 games. Azarenka and Radwanska met in the semi-finals in Sydney earlier this month, when the Belarusian prevailed in three sets.