MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two-time
Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka made it back to the quarterfinals at
Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016 by beating Zhu Lin 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that began late Sunday night and
ended at nearly 2:20 a.m. on Monday.
"I really focused on staying patient, staying focused on myself," said the 33-year-old Azarenka, who won the title in Australia in 2012 and 2013, "because it was very, very easy to just lose that patience, lose control, because it was very tough out there."
The third set began with six consecutive breaks of serve, before Zhu finally was the first to hold, taking a 4-3 lead.
But the 24th-seeded Azarenka grabbed the final three games. She held, then broke to go up 5-4 when Zhu put a forehand into the net.
Azarenka faced two break points while trying to serve for the victory. She managed to save both and closed it out with a cross-court forehand winner after 2 hours, 40 minutes of play.