CARLSBAD, Calif. — Top-seeded Victoria Azaranka beat seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the final in the Southern California Open.
Azarenka, the Belarus player ranked No. 3, won a sloppy match against the Serb as both players committed more unforced errors than hit winners. The two-time Australian Open champ will face fifth-seeded Sam Stosur of Australia, a 7-6 (2), 6-3 winner over Virginie Razzano of France.
The semifinal win will propel Azarenka, the former world No. 1, past Maria Sharapova of Russia into the No. 2 slot when the new rankings come out Monday.
Azarenka hit 21 winners and had 31 unforced errors, while Ivanovic had 31 winners and 47 unforced errors.
Azarenka, playing her first event since withdrawing from Wimbledon because of a right knee injury, scored the first of her two service breaks of the final set to take a 3-2 lead. When Ivanovic had four unforced errors in the ninth game, including a backhand into the net on the final point, Azarenka secured another break for the win.
The first set wasn't as lopsided as the score indicated. Each of the first four games were long and drawn out. But after Azarenka broke the Serb's serve at love in the fifth game, she quickly held serve to win the first set.
At Washington, John Isner, the highest-ranked American man, earned a matchup against top-seeded and two-time champion Juan Martin del Potro in today's Citi Open final.
Taking control by breaking serve immediately after a rain delay, Isner hit 29 aces and beat unseeded Dmitry Tursunov 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4. Later, del Potro came out much stronger after his semifinal was interrupted for more than three hours by showers and he turned things around to beat third-seeded Tommy Haas 7-6 (4), 6-3 in a match that ended past midnight.
Del Potro stretched his winning streak at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open to 13 matches. He won Washington's tournament in 2008 and 2009, then skipped it the past three years.