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Azarenka’s Perfect Tennis Season Ends With Miami Loss to Bartoli

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March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Victoria Azarenka’s 26-match winning start to women’s tennis season ended with a quarterfinal defeat to Marion Bartoli at the Sony Ericsson Open.

France’s Bartoli, the No. 7 seed at the tournament in Miami, upset top-ranked Azarenka 6-3, 6-3 last night to secure her third win in 11 career meetings with the Belarusian.

Azarenka’s start had been the best on the WTA Tour since Martina Hingis opened the 1997 season on a 37-0 run. The 22-year-old Azarenka won all four of her previous tournaments, taking titles in Sydney, Doha and Indian Wells, and clinching her first Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open.

“What I’ve done in the last couple of months, I have to be really proud of myself,” Azarenka said in comments on the tournament’s website. “I could have maybe played better today, that’s for sure, but I gave it all I had.”

The 27-year-old Bartoli, who scored her third career victory over a No. 1-ranked player, will face fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for a place in the final.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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