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Aussie upsets continue as champion falls

– Victoria Azarenka’s 18-match winning streak at the Australian Open ended in an upset 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to Agnieszka Radwanska today to continue the flow of stars tumbling out of the season’s first major.

Fifth-seeded Radwanska ended a streak of three consecutive quarterfinal defeats at the Australian Open with a stunning display of versatile shot-making that confused the big-hitting defending champion.

She next plays No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova, who won the last eight games in a one-hour, 6-3, 6-0 quarterfinal rout of No. 11 seed Simona Halep. Azarenka’s loss followed the fourth-round exits of top-ranked Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova and leaves 2011 French Open champion Li Na as the only major winner remaining in the women’s draw.

Li will play 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the other semifinal.

Azarenka’s loss continued an upsetting trend at the Open. Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic joined Williams and Sharapova as unexpected early departures from the season’s first major with a quarterfinal loss Tuesday to Stanislas Wawrinka.

Djokovic came into the match with 28 consecutive wins since losing last year’s U.S Open final to Rafael Nadal, and 25 in a row at Melbourne Park since 2010.

But the figure that really mattered was 14 – the number of consecutive matches in which Djokovic had beaten Wawrinka back to 2007, including two five-set wins the last time they met in Grand Slam matches last year at the Australian and U.S Opens.

Djokovic held off Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 2-minute fourth-rounder here last year – the longest Grand Slam match of the season.

All those streaks ended in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 win Tuesday by Wawrinka, Roger Federer’s sometimes Swiss doubles partner and who is into the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

“Fourteen is enough,” Wawrinka said.

“He took his opportunities. He deserved his big win today,” Djokovic said.

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