Victoria Azarenka blames focus as three-peat goes begging

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka was brought down by fifth seed Agnieszka Radwansa in the quarterfinal.

Updated: January 22, 2014 12:13 IST
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Melbourne: Defending champion Victoria Azarenka admitted on Wednesday she lacked focus after blowing a golden opportunity to win her third straight Australian Open when she was bundled out in the quarter-finals.

The second seed, who won the last two tournaments at Melbourne Park, made 47 unforced errors as her game was taken apart by aggressive fifth seed Agnieszka Radwansa in another big tournament upset.

The Pole came through 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 to end the Belarusian's 18-match Australian Open winning streak -- and the world number two said the defeat hurt.

"The first set and the third set, I think there was just too many mistakes and too many easy mistakes on important moments," she said.

"She was passing amazing today and getting to every ball.

"But I just didn't have the focus on finishing the points. That definitely changed the momentum. She really took advantage of that. It was hard to come back.

"My game wasn't there today as I wanted it to be."

Azarenka has won both of her Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, and was on a winning streak of 18 matches.

After the early exits of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova she was well-placed to become the first woman to claim the title in three consecutive years since Martina Hingis between 1997-99.

But the opportunity went begging under the Radwanska onslaught and Azarenka admitted it was disappointing to be going home.

"You can look at it as a lost opportunity," she said. "There's nothing else I can do right now. I can think about how I lost today, how disappointed I am today, what it is.

"But what I have to think is what I have to do better next time."

She added: "It's just the beginning. So I know if I wouldn't be able to do much better than today, it's better to just stop playing tennis.

"But I know that I can do better and I can play better so... I guess there's some positive in there."

Radwanska's win ensures the tournament will have a new champion with none of the semi-finalists -- Radwanska, Dominika Cibulkova, Li Na and Eugenie Bouchard -- having won before.

Radwanska, who plays Slovakia's Cibulkova next, had always struggled against her fellow 24-year-old. The pair had met 15 times before with the Belarusian leading 12-3, winning their last seven meetings.

Azarenka paid credit to the way Radwanska approached their clash on Wednesday.

"She was aggressive, she was making everything, she was guessing right," she said.

"I was just playing a little bit too predictable. She served well in the important moments. She was just doing everything a little bit better than me. I was just watching. I was like a spectator a little bit."

Despite the loss, the world number two said life goes on and she will back on the practice courts straight away.

"I'll be fine tomorrow. I'll be working tomorrow. It's not the end of the world though I'm not happy with what I did today."

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