Azarenka reasserts authority to ease into quarters

MELBOURNE – Victoria Azarenka was back to her ruthless best as the defending champion advanced to the Australian Open quarter-finals with a 6-1 6-1 demolition of Russia’s Elena Vesnina in less than an hour on Monday.

The world number one had become the first of the top four seeds to drop a set at Melbourne Park this year in the third round against an injury-hampered Jamie Hampton and said she needed to improve “everything” against Vesnina.

The Russian doubles specialist, who won her first WTA Tour title in Hobart before the tournament began, however, offered little against the tall right-hander and was simply ground down by the more powerful Belarusian.

Azarenka will meet Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals after the Russian two-time grand slam champion had earlier overcome 10th-seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 2-6 7-5 in the first game on Rod Laver Arena.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O’Brien)

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