Azarenka downs Konta in Miami quarters

Super kind Federer signs tennis balls for adoring young French Open fans

Victoria Azarenka beat Britain’s Johanna Konta in windy conditions to reach the semi-finals of the Miami Open on Wednesday.

The 13th seed from Belarus was made to work hard in the first set before getting past the 24th seeded Konta 6-4, 6-2 and will next face second seed Angelique Kerber in the semi-final, after the German cruised past American 22nd seed Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2.

In a tight opening set, Azarenka got the only break of serve in the seventh game and kept holding her serve to eventually take the set 6-4 in 58 minutes.

The second set was an easier affair for Azarenka as she broke serve twice in the third and fifth games to run out the winner.

“She’s such a great player,” Azarenka told ESPN afterwards. “I see a lot of potential.

“I couldn’t actually get a read on her serve in the beginning – it was tough for me to adjust – but then I got a bit lower and tried to get more returns in, be a bit more aggressive.”

This was Konta’s first quarter-final appearance in a WTA Premier event and said afterwards that she was happy with the way she played.

“I’m happy with the level I was able to bring to the court,” Konta told the BBC. “Obviously, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t have done a little bit better but I’m taking the positives from it.”

The other semi-final sees Russian 15th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova up against 19th seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.