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Azarenka and Pennetta into last four

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Originally published on: 05/09/13 00:00

The Australian Open champion defeated Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-3 to book a semi-final clash with world No.83 Flavia Pennetta, who continued her fairytale run with victory over fellow Italian Roberta Vinci.

Azarenka struggled with consistency, but three breaks of serve helped her claim the first set before rallying from 2-0 down in the second to wrap up victory in an hour and 16 minutes.

"It's amazing to see such great players in the semi-finals," said Azarenka. "Flavia has been through so much in her career and I can't wait to play her."

Pennetta, who has slipped down the rankings in recent years after being inside the world’s top ten in 2009, has now beaten four seeded players en route to her first major semi-final.

Having upset fourth seed Sara Errani in the second round, Pennetta saw off former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova [27] and the in-form Simona Halep [21] before a 6-4 6-1 victory over former doubles partner Vinci.

The 31-year-old, who had surgery on her wrist after last year’s US Open, fired 23 winners as she outgunned the No.10 seed in 65 minutes.

"It's just amazing. I'm really happy. I cannot believe it,” Pennetta said. “It was really difficult to play Roberta – it's never easy to play against one of your best friends on the tour, of course. But this is life. I just played my tennis and everything worked out really well for me."

Defending champion Serena Williams and Li Na, both 31, will contest the other semi-final. It is the first time since 1994 Wimbledon that three women over the age of 30 have reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam.

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