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Tennis-Makarova beats Azarenka to reach U.S. Open semi-finals


NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Ekaterina Makarova outslugged Victoria Azarenka, the U.S. Open runner-up the last two years, 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open.

The 17th-seeded Russian was steadier and more explosive with her big groundstrokes in dismissing the 16th seed from Belarus and reaching her first grand slam singles semi-final.

Makarova was down a break in the first set at 3-2 but broke right back, and broke again in the 10th game as she took advantage of loose groundstrokes from the Belarussian.

Left-hander Makarova, better known for her exploits in doubles, dominated the second set and kept up the pressure after Azarenka saved six break points before the Russian broke through in the sixth game to lead 4-2 and clinched the quarter-final by breaking in the final game.

Makarova, who has advanced without the loss of a set, will meet either two-time defending champion and top seed Serena Williams or 11th seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy. (Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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