Victoria Azarenka is not one to go unnoticed.
The tall, blonde Belarusian plays with powerful groundstrokes that matches her intense personality. She expresses her emotions freely on court and carries herself with an air of confidence wherever she goes. And let’s not forgot about the shrieks. Oh, the shrieks.
But regardless of whether you admire her on-court tenacity or have trouble watching her matches without the mute button handy, the 22-year-old is not going anywhere anytime soon.
In her Australian Open quarterfinal match against Agnieszka Radwanska, another young star of the WTA, the world No. 3 Azarenka fought back from losing the first set tiebreak 7-0 to cruise to a commanding 6-7, 6-0, 6-2 victory.
Azarenka will next face the defending champion Kim Clijsters, who defeated world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, in her second career Grand Slam semifinal. With the quarterfinals loss, Wozniacki will relinquish her top ranking. Azarenka is among the three women remaining in the draw who can become the new No. 1 when the updated rankings are issued Monday. The others are No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova and No. 4 Maria Sharapova.
Just two days after saving four match points in a victory against Li Na in the fourth round, a hobbled Clijsters scored a straight set win over Wozniacki and appears ready to defend her title. The Belgian veteran leads Azarenka 4-2 in their head-to-head, but lost in their most recent meeting, last year in Miami. If Azarenka gets past the No. 11 seed Clijsters, she will play in her first career Grand Slam final.
And with a win on the championship stage she would not only silence her critics, but also drown them out with the sweet shrieks of victory. So whether you like it or not, Azarenka is here to stay – a fact that has become loud and clear.