LONDON (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters was out-hit and out-shrieked on Thursday as Victoria Azarenka bundled the former world number one out of the Eastbourne championships in the quarter-finals.
The Belgian, sharpening her grasscourt game for next week’s Wimbledon championships, lost 7-6 6-4 at the south-coast venue which has witnessed several shocks this week.
Clijsters saved set points at 3-5 in the first set but survived to take it to a tiebreak which Azarenka won 8-6.
The second set appeared to be heading Clijsters’s way but the vocal Azarenka recovered a break and marched into the semi-finals where she will face France’s Marion Bartoli.
“I’m very happy,” Belarussian Azarenka, whose groans and grunts shattered the peace of Devonshire Park, told reporters. “The conditions were windy but I dealt with that and feel I’m playing very well on the grass.”
Britain’s Elena Baltacha sensed one of the biggest victories of her career when she won the first set against French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur but collapsed to a 6-7 6-1 6-0 defeat as the Australian world number seven upped her game.
“She was on a roll, she played really hot in that second and third set,” Baltacha told reporters. “There’s a reason why she made the finals of Paris, she’s a very good player.”
Bartoli beat Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 5-7 6-4 7-6 while, in an all-Russian contest, qualifier Ekaterina Makarova beat former U.S. and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 7-5.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Clare Fallon