Australian Open lookahead: Azarenka vs. Rybakina in semis

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — LOOKAHEAD TO THURSDAY

Victoria Azarenka continues her quest for a third Australian Open title a decade after her last championship at Melbourne Park when she plays Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in one of two women’s semifinals at night. No. 5-seeded Aryna Sabalenka plays unseeded Magda Linette in the other. Now 33, Azarenka won the 2012 and 2013 titles in Australia but she has not been back to the final four since. Azarenka has beaten three Americans — 2020 Australian champion Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys and No. 3 Jessica Pegula — en route to her first semifinal appearance in a Grand Slam tournament since the 2020 U.S. Open. Rybakina’s path included victories against 2022 runner-up Danielle Collins and No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Rybakina beat Azarenka in straight sets in their only previous meeting. Sabalenka is 9-0 so far in 2023 and won both previous contests against Linette, including at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

WEDNESDAY’S KEY RESULTS

Women’s Quarterfinals: No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka beat Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2; Magda Linette beat No. 30 Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5.

Men’s Quarterfinals: No. 4 Novak Djokovic beat No. 5 Andrey Rublev. 6-1, 6-2, 6-4; Tommy Paul beat Ben Shelton 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

THURSDAY’S FORECAST

Partly cloudy with a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

STATS OF THE DAY

0-7 — Rublev’s career record in Grand Slam quarterfinals after his loss to Djokovic.

29 — Number of previous Grand Slam singles appearances for Linette without advancing past the third round.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“All through my life I’ve been taking mistakes and losses very personally, so I had to disconnect those two things. It was really difficult, because I felt a lot of times that the misses, the mistakes, were defining me.” — Linette on her continuing “emotional management.”

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