Published January 13, 2015
Victoria Azarenka breezed through her Thursday quarterfinal match at the season-opening Brisbane International.
The world No. 1 from Belarus figures to have a more difficult challenge in the semifinals when she goes up against Serena Williams.
Azarenka, who captured her first career WTA singles title at this event in 2009 and was the runner-up in 2008, posted a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Kazakhstani qualifier Ksenia Pervak.
A superior opponent awaits her Friday in the third-seeded Williams, who bested fellow American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.
Azarenka is bidding to snap a nine-match losing streak against the reigning Wimbledon, U.S. Open, Olympic and WTA Championships titlist Williams. Her lone win in 12 lifetime meetings came in Miami four years ago.
The other semifinal will pit Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova against Ukrainian lucky-loser Lesia Tsurenko. Pavlyuchenkova ousted fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber in a pair of tiebreaks, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), while Tsurenko beat Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-4. Hantuchova was last year's Brisbane runner-up to Estonian Kaia Kanepi.