Azarenka into Acapulco quarters, Stephens out

Published by Tennismash

Victoria Azarenka in action during her second-round victory over Tatjana Maria at the WTA tournament in Acapulco (Getty Images)
A resurgent Victoria Azarenka storms into the last eight in Acapulco while top seed Sloane Stephens stumbles in the second round against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Victoria Azarenka has notched her first WTA quarterfinal in five months after a dominant win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria.

The wildcard – a former world No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion – brushed Maria aside 6-2 6-1 to set up a meeting in the last eight with Sofia Kenin.

Kenin, a champion earlier this season in Hobart, arrived in the quarterfinals after opponent Katie Boulter retired when trailing 6-4 4-1, citing illness.

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The 50th-ranked Azarenka has dropped just six games en route to the Acapulco quarters after beating No.2 seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-2 in the opening round a day earlier.

“I’m happy with the direction that I’m going,” said Azarenka, who finished with double the number of winners to Maria.

“Physically, I feel like my movement is starting to pick up. My execution and the timing of that was not there, so it made it look kind of inefficient, and now it’s a little bit put more together and more efficient.”

Should she beat Kenin, Azarenka would move through to her first semifinal since the Miami Open in March last year.

There it was Sloane Stephens who stopped her, but that won’t be the case in Acapulco after the American bowed out of the tournament in the second round.

Stephens, the top seed, surrendered 6-3 6-3 to Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has built a four-match winning streak in Acapulco.

“It was just a tough match, obviously she played well,” Stephens said. “A tough day. But I’m not too sad about it. I’m just going to go back and work some more, practice some more and get ready for Indian Wells.”

Netx up for Haddad Maia is China’s Yafan Wang, who was leading Monica Puig 4-1 before the Puerto Rican retired.

Also moving through to the last eight were former world No.4 Johanna Konta and third seed Monica Puig.

The Brit and the Croat will clash for a spot in the semis, as will Zheng Saisai and Bianca Andreescu.

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