As the tennis world took stock of Marion Bartoli’s shock decision to retire, the top seeds tried to put the focus back on court. Victoria Azarenka, the World No. 2, got the better of Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Western and Southern Open.
World No. 1 Serena Williams closed out the action under the center court floodlights with a 63 minute 6-4 6-1 demolition of Germany’s Mona Barthel. There was nothing surprising about Azarenka’s third round match either as she moved easily into the quarter-finals, despite problems with her serve during an uneven match that featured 13 breaks. Li Na’s Cincinnati title defence also picked up steam as the fifth-seeded Chinese rolled to a 6-4 6-4 win over ninth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Radwanska pulls out
Before Thursday action was completed, Li found herself through to the semi-finals when Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Elena Vesnina 6-0 6-2, withdrew from the tournament to attend her grandfather’s funeral.