Then last month in the third round at Wimbledon, Williams came within two
points of defeating the eventual champion Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.
Last night taking the ball early and hitting her trademark powerful groundstrokes and serves, the 34 year old Williams broke serve to reach 3-1 before committing two forehand errors and a backhand error to drop serve and put the match back on serve.
Serving to stay in the set down 4-5, the 25 year old Azarenka hit a forehand down the line long, followed by two consecutive double faults to face two setpoints at 15-40.
Williams hit groundstroke errors on both setpoints before striking a powerful crosscourt forehand which led to a netted Azarenka forehand down the line on set point number three.
The second set remained on serve until Azarenka, who was celebrating her birthday, served at 3-4.
Azarenka hit a forehand down the line wide. Williams then hit a forehand down the line winner; which Azarenka followed up with a double fault to trail 0-40.
The American broke serve after winning an unexpected 22 shot rally with an inside out forehand down the line winner.
Serving for the match; however, Williamsí level of play dropped somewhat as she committed several errors while Azarenka connected with several winners.
At deuce, Williams hit a backhand down the line long then double faulted to lose serve. The set then remained on serve to enter a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker Williams who plays a very high risk extremely powerful game with little margin for error, was steadier than usual for her.
The American jumped out to a 4-0 lead following two Azarenka groundstroke errors combined with two forehand down the line winners from herself. An Azarenka crosscourt backhand hit long put Williams ahead 5-0.
Williams hit a crosscourt backhand long to reach 5-1 before Azarenka double faulted to trail 6-1 and face match point.
A final Williams powerful crosscourt forehand resulted in Azarenka netting her crosscourt slice forehand to lose the match after 1 hour and 42 minutes of play.
Friday in the quarterfinals, Venus Williams takes on the 8th seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany not before 4:00pm PST USA. Williamsí younger sister, the top ranked Serena Williams faces the 5th seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia not before 8:00pm PST USA.
ESPN2 is scheduled to televise Serena Williamsí match live. The Tennis Channel is scheduled to televise Venus Williamsí match tape delayed at 10:00pm PST USA.
Should both of the Williams sisters win today, they would then face each other in the semifinals Saturday.