WTA Championships: Azarenka looks for perfect end to season

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Victoria Azarenka will end the year as the number one player in the women’s game after making the WTA championships semi-finals.

The reigning Australian Open champion will now turn her attention to beating world number two Maria Sharapova, and can be backed at 1/2 to do so.

It took an unconvincing victory over Li Na to see Azarenka through to the last four, but she was delighted with the consequences of her narrow win.

“It’s kind of difficult to believe that a little girl from Belarus is on that list,” Azarenka said.

“When I started to play tennis I had this big picture in my head that I want to be there. Back then it was so far away. It was like pretty much touching the sky.

“I want to play my last matches here and then enjoy being the world number one. I want to focus on this competition, there are still lots of challenges ahead,” the 23-year-old concluded.

It will not be easy going for Azarenka to double up her number one achievement with outright victory in Turkey, and she is currently the second-favourite with Ladbrokes at 7/2.

Serena Williams is much-fancied with odds of 4/11 to wrap up victory in Istanbul and cap a very good second half of her season, following Wimbledon and US Open triumphs.

Firstly Azarenka must overcome grunting beauty Maria Sharapova, who is priced at 7/1 to win the tournament having already picked up all the grand slams going in women’s tennis during her career.

Sharapova is an outside bet at 13/8 to beat Azarenka, despite cruising into the semi’s with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Sam Stosur to win the White Group.

In the other last four clash, Williams in the heavy 1/12 odds-on favourite to triumph against Agnieszka Radwańska, in a repeat of the American’s Wimbledon victory this summer.

Poland’s 2012 Olympics flag-bearer Radwańska took that match to three sets but didn’t have enough to overcome the powerful Williams sister, and is a 13/2 long-shot to avenge her All-England Club defeat.

Radwańska’s unlikely chances of victory against Williams are reflected in her outright price of WTA Championship victory, which can be found at 20/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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