Bartoli hands Azarenka first defeat of 2012


09:37 AM March 29th, 2012

March 29th, 2012 09:37 AM

Marion Bartoli of France reacts to winning a match against Victoria Azarenka of Belaraus during Day 10 of the Sony Ericsson Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 28, 2012 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

MIAMI — Victoria Azarenka’s 26-match winning streak was snapped Wednesday by French seventh seed Marion Bartoli, who stunned the world number one 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the ATP/WTA Miami hardcourt event.

Azarenka’s season-long win streak earned her four titles, including her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, with which she gained the world number one ranking.

She also won in Sydney, Doha and Indian Wells.

It was the longest match winning streak on the WTA Tour since Martina Hingis went 37-0 in 1997.

Defending champion Azarenka may have been feeling the effects of a tough fourth-round match. Down a set and behind 5-2, she rallied to beat 16th seeded Dominika Cibulkova in three sets, 1-6, 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, but she couldn’t engineer a similar comeback against Bartoli.

Bartoli, 27 and ranked at a career-high seventh in the world, will play fifth seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for a place in the final.

Bartoli notched her third career victory over a world number one player. She beat Belgian Justine Henin at Wimbledon in 2007 and Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic at the Australian Open in 2009.

“I really went on court with a lot of belief in myself, and I stayed very focused at the end,” said a beaming Bartoli. “I’m so happy.”

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