ROME, Italy — Victoria Azarenka staked a claim as the hardest-working woman in tennis at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, playing three matches on Friday — and winning two of them to reach the final four of the doubles draw.
The former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion started her day involved in a three-set tussle in the singles quarterfinals against No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka came back from 1-4 down to take the first set in a tiebreak, but Pliskova ultimately powered through to the victory, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-2.
But the Belarusian came back with a vengeance on the doubles court, as she teamed with Australia’s Ashleigh Barty to collect two straight-set victories in the span of less than four hours to reach the semifinals.
Not too long after her singles match, Azarenka hit the court with Barty and upset the No.5-seeded team of Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova, 6-4, 6-3. Azarenka and Barty eased to victory over Hsieh and Strycova in 74 minutes, coming back from an early break down in both sets.
Just over an hour later, Azarenka and Barty came back out for their doubles quarterfinal against Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Lesia Tsurenko, and it was the Belarusian/Australian tandem who came out on top again, winning 6-2, 6-4 in 66 minutes.