MELBOURNE, Australia — Victoria Azarenka's 18-match winning streak at the Australian Open ended Wednesday in a 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to Agnieszka Radwanska, continuing the flow of stars tumbling out of the year's first major.
Fifth-seeded Radwanska ended her own streak of three consecutive quarterfinal defeats at Melbourne with a stunning display of versatile shot-making that shocked and confused the big-hitting Azarenka.
The result means both defending champions and No. 2 seeds were out in the quarterfinals — Novak Djokovic lost in five sets to Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday night.
Azarenka's defeat followed the fourth-round exits of top-ranked Serena Williams and No. 3 Maria Sharapova and leaves 2011 French Open champion Li Na as the only major winner to reach the women's semifinals.
Radwanska faces No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, who routed Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-0. Li, a two-time finalist here, plays 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
Radwanska played drop shots and slices from the baseline, forcing Azarenka to come forward and then lobbing or passing her. She hit touch volleys with calm precision, instinctively anticipated Azarenka's shots and avoided big-swinging rallies, continually mixing it up and saving the power for when she needed it.
"She was aggressive. She was making everything. She was guessing right," Azarenka said. "I was just playing a little bit too predictably."
The previous night, Djokovic's bid for a fourth consecutive Australian title ended in a dramatic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 quarterfinal loss to Wawrinka, who had lost 14 previous matches to the Serbian. The eighth-seeded Swiss will face No. 7 Tomas Berdych in a semifinal.
A year ago Djokovic held off Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5-hour 2-minute fourth-rounder en route to his third straight Australian title. He also edged Wawrinka in five sets in a U.S. Open semifinal.
"I don't want to lose every time in five sets against Novak. I had to find a solution," Wawrinka said. "I had to fight within myself to fight against him. . . . That means being really aggressive."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times